Slowly, Nuclear energy is gaining recognition as a clean, safe, sustainable, and ultimately economical energy source. And most importantly, indispensable, if we are to win the battle against climate change.
Germany’s plan to phase out all nuclear power plants in favor of wind and solar power (“energiewende”) has so far cost German citizens hundreds of billions of euros while CO2 emissions have stagnated. Germany continues to mine and burn lignite, the most polluting and CO2-emitting fuel, still responsible for a fifth of Germany’s electricity. And German electricity is the most expensive in Europe.
Nuklearia member Anna Veronika Wendland, a science and technology specialist, is one of those who has come to understand that the nuclear phase-out was a mistake. Not only is nuclear “the most powerful instrument to make an electricity industry environment-friendly, low in carbon dioxide, and secure in supply,” she says, but environmental considerations favor it: “It would be naïve to assume that renewables have no consequences for humans and animals in whose habitats they are built. What is currently happening here is a brute transformation of cultural and natural landscapes into installation spaces for renewables.”
Belgium gets half its electricity from its seven nuclear reactors. Yet a decision made on purely ideological grounds aims to shut these all down by 2025. Belgium’s solar capacity factor is 12%, its wind energy factor 19%. So the shortfall is to be made up with CO2-emitting natural gas. Belgium will be closing down depreciated nuclear power plants producing cheap electricity and will have to subsidise both renewable and gas-fired power plants. The phase-out, if allowed to proceed, will lead to increased CO2 emissions and make Belgium one of the developed nations with the highest electricity prices.
France plans to shut down 14 of its 58 nuclear reactors by 2035, part of a scheme to reduce nuclear’s share of electricity from 75% down to 50%. This again is a purely ideological decision. France has so far spent €150 billion to supposedly decarbonize an electricity sector that is already 90% non-carbon emitting due to nuclear and some hydro. Two nuclear plants at Fessenheim are scheduled to be shut down in 2020.
Replacing nuclear plants with intermittent renewables (solar and wind) results in increased CO2 emissions because fossil fuels – coal, lignite or natural gas – are brought in to remedy the intermittency. The only alternative is precarity of supply.
Proud to support nuclear energy
The Nuclear Pride Coalition has no complex about supporting an energy source that has a superior health and safety record, emits practically no greenhouse gas, is sustainable for the long foreseeable future, is economical over its lifetime, is reliable whatever the weather, and respects nature because it has a tiny footprint on the ground compared with wind turbines or solar panels producing electricity in similar quantities.
We want to keep those functional nuclear power plants running as long as they are safe to run. And we want to see new ones built, to replace dirty fossil fuels and for the growing energy needs of Europe and the world. We want people to understand the facts about nuclear energy. We want science to win over ideology. We want the end of a taboo.
A group of independent civil society organisations and committed individuals, we express our confidence in nuclear power through joyous celebrations to which everyone is invited. Brightly colored balloons, costumed “polar bears,” drawing competitions, quizzes and explanations, songs and dancing, all contribute to an atmosphere that is fun but also educational. The success of our first Nuclear Pride Fest in Munich, Germany in October 2018 was followed by another in Brussels, Belgium, in April 2019.
Enjoy some photos of the event here:
And watch these videos (courtesy of Jean-Philippe Brette):
The next Nuclear Pride Fest is scheduled for October 20, 2019 in the city of light – Paris, France. Write it down in your calendar now – you won’t want to miss it.
Keep abreast of new developments here.
Late last night, I heard a wrecking crew
Come to take away Doel 1 and 2.
Over in France, I hear the lights don’t shine
Ever since they took away Fessenheim.
Don’t it always seem to go
You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…
(With apologies to Joni Mitchel)