Germany announces plan to ditch nuclear power by 2022

Marketplace Staff May 31, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Germany announces plan to ditch nuclear power by 2022

Marketplace Staff May 31, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

BOB MOON: A high-voltage announcement from Germany today: It will shutter all nuclear power plants in the country within about a decade. Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing for a transition to solar, wind and hydroelectric power.

Tony Roulstone is with the University of Cambridge Nuclear Energy Center. And let me ask you — no nuclear power in Germany by 2022? Why? Is it all about Japan?

TONY ROULSTONE: The Fukishima event seems to have so traumatized the politicians in Germany that they are reversing their policy and going back to removing all nuclear by 2022.

MOON: You know, a lot of people out there say clean energy technologies aren’t ready for prime time yet. Won’t this just mean more coal power in the short term?

ROULSTONE: Well, it may well. The Germans have about 23 percent of their power from nuclear. They’ve invested very strongly in clean power. And about 70 percent of their electricity comes from green energies. If they take out more than 20 percent of nuclear, they are going to be pressed back on conventional power, whether its gas or coal.

MOON: Germany’s chancellor says she wants to pressure other countries to do the same. Will they? Will the U.S. for example, follow suit on this?

ROULSTONE: I don’t think it will have an effect on America. America is more driven by its own views and probably more driven by electricity prices but I think the world’s going to split into countries which carry on with nuclear and the ones that don’t. And I think the U.K.’s going to carry on, and I would expect at least at some rate the U.S. would also carry on.

MOON: Tony Roulstone with the Cambridge Nuclear Energy Center. Thanks for joining us.

ROULSTONE: Thank you.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.