Monday 30 May 2011

If Germany can shake the nuclear habit - so can we

The announcement that Germany is to shed itself of nuclear power is a relief to many. It is an important step, because, if they can do it, anyone can. Germany has a 23% reliance on nuclear fueled electricity, so how can they manage withdrawal?

Firstly, they have a belief that new technology can reduce energy consumption, and secondly they are prepared to put a huge investment in renewable energy sources. It is the only sane thing to do after Fukushima.

On the surface, the Japanese nuclear catastrophe appears to be a freak accident, triggered by the devastating tsunami that followed the huge earthquake. Analysts though have been warning of similar disasters that could follow accidents at nuclear plants for a whole series of reasons, and the old German reactors were beginning to creak.

Germany is also the most financially savvy country in Europe. It knows that the nuclear figures just don't add up. The energy is only ever affordable with massive state subsidies, and the cost of safe disposal of nuclear waste is phenomenal.

Germany also knows that it will be impossible to ask the Polish government not to go ahead with two new nuclear power plants if they did not take this decision soon.

The UK, France, Japan and the rest of the world needs to learn from Germany's decision. It may be tough, but we have to rid ourselves of the nuclear option once and for all.

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