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Too Much, Too Soon?

After the natural disaster and nuclear crisis in Japan, Germany took a 180 degree turn on its own nuclear policy. Instead of extending the life of the country’s 17 nuclear reactors, the ruling government voted to have all nuclear power plants phased out of the national grid by 2022, and the 8 oldest have already been shut down permanently.

The New York Times had an interesting article about what that actually means for Germany in the short term. Of course, environmentalists and anti-nuclear activists were happy to hear 8 reactors were being shut down right away. But in the article, some critics say the decision is actually bad for the environment. Because Germany has to find power sources elsewhere – and because the country is not ready just yet to replace all nuclear energy with renewable sources – energy suppliers have to go back to coal and fossil fuel plants to make sure there’s enough power to go around. And in the meantime, Germany has been forced to import energy from neighboring countries like the Czech Republic and France, which both depend heavily on nuclear power to produce electricity. Plus, with winter approaching, Germany could face blackouts when the demand for electricity is too much.

So we wanted to put the question out there: weighing the pro’s and con’s, what do you think of Germany’s decision to shut down its nuclear power plants?

Date

September 2, 2011

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