Politics

10 years of Fukushima – what happened after the great quake?

Germany: nuclear phase-out with some obstacles

“We cannot just go back to the agenda,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel in those days when pictures of the burning nuclear power plant in Fukushima went around the world. Your government then decided to end eight nuclear power plants and phase out nuclear power by 2022.

But it shouldn’t be that easy. Because a few weeks before the accident, it was decided to extend the service life of the nuclear reactors. The result: The four operating companies filed claims for damages. The government will now compensate them with 2.4 billion euros.

In addition, the energy transition is making slow progress: There are still too few eco-power plants. In terms of power generation, renewable energies from wind, sun, water or biomass supplied more power than fossil fuels for the first time in 2019. In many areas from agriculture to industry, however, energy from coal or oil continues to dominate.

Search for a repository

At the moment, however, the most important question is: what to do with the radioactive waste? Six of the 27 nuclear power plants are currently still in operation. The last kiln is due to go offline in a year. A site for a repository is to be found by 2031. Since this will be followed by the approval process and the construction phase, it cannot be expected until 2050 at the earliest. Apart from that, it’s a highly emotional, controversial topic.

The protests in Gorleben, where a “nuclear waste disposal center” was supposed to be built, are well remembered. Ultimately, an above-ground interim storage facility was built there. In the current search, the village is no longer on the list. Instead, other places in Bavaria or Lower Saxony that offer geological conditions to keep the garbage underground for a million years.

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