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Nuclear power is expensive and uninsurable | Paul Gipe : Grist

The world's beleaguered nuclear industry continues to take a battering. The "nuclear renaissance" juggernaut that once seemed unstoppable now appears dead in its tracks.

The cabinet of Germany's conservative government on Monday voted to take the country out of nuclear permanently by 2022. Not to be outdone on the right, the country's opposition parties say that's not fast enough.

The conservative party in the state of Bavaria has gone even further and says that while it was first in German nuclear power, it will now be first in exiting nuclear. Bavaria, known as the "Texas of Germany" for its conservatism, gets more than 50 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy.

But it's the sheer cost of nuclear that may overwhelm any industry "renaissance."

Little data exists on the actual cost of new nuclear generation. Rumors persist in Ontario, Canada, that the government's delay in building its promised new reactors was due to "sticker shock" after receiving costly proposals. Whatever the reason for delay, the actual costs of the proposals are being hidden from public view.

So policy discussions are often dependent on studies of nuclear's cost by organizations with a particular axe to grind.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 12:33:19 PM EST
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German cabinet approves 2022 nuclear shutdown | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 06.06.2011

German cabinet members voted in a special session Monday morning to confirm government plans to shut down all the country's nuclear power stations by 2022.

This decision means the proposal can now be debated in the houses of parliament, with Chancellor Angela Merkel's government currently hoping to pass the new law on July 8.

Merkel's administration is seeking to hurry through its energy about-face as quickly as possible, having radically altered its approach to nuclear power since the accident at Japan's Fukushima power plant and the resultant backlash to atomic energy in Germany.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 01:46:04 PM EST
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Alternative energies face off as Germany exits the nuclear age | Environment & Development | Deutsche Welle | 06.06.2011

'Nuclear energy is a cost-efficient bridge technology which is needed for the transition into the era of renewable energy sources.'

Or at least it was when Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition of conservatives and pro-business Free Democrats was using this line of reasoning to justify overturning her predecessor's timetable for phasing out nuclear power by the end of the decade.

Then Fukushima happened.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 01:51:08 PM EST
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Chinese stand to profit from German nuclear exit | Business | Deutsche Welle | 06.06.2011

While some industry groups in Germany complain about the federal government's decision to phase out nuclear energy by 2022, others, particularly in the renewable energy sector, couldn't be happier.

Manufacturers of solar panels, wind turbines and electricity network systems are among the key groups that stand to benefit most from the country's decision to shut down its nuclear plants. But whether the country's own home-grown manufacturers will be the big winners in the scramble for potentially lucrative contracts remains to be seen.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 01:51:41 PM EST
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Fukushima to get 370 tanks for radioactive water

Hundreds of water tanks are to be sent to Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to hold thousands of tons of water contaminated in the effort to keep its reactors cool, the operator said Sunday.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has sourced 370 tanks with a total capacity for more than 40,000 tons of radioactive water, a company spokeswoman said.

"Two of the tanks got on the way to the plant late Saturday," said TEPCO spokeswoman Ai Tanaka, adding that they would reach the site in two days or so. "It will be in mid-August that all the 370 tanks will get to the plant."

A massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake and monster tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the plant on the Pacific coast on March 11.

In a stop-gap measure to contain the emergency at the plant, workers have been pouring massive amounts of water onto reactors where fuel rods are reported to have melted, and topped up pools for spent fuel rods.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 02:44:08 PM EST
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