What the phase-out of nuclear power means

What the phase-out of nuclear power means

Dhe German nuclear exit, which has been accompanied with tears in recent days, gives us an idea of ​​what it will be like when the last combustion engine rolls off the assembly line. Then there will probably be even more whining and dancing around the dying fire, because the people’s industrial soul will be ripped out as technical change irons out what could have been so good. Yes, what could not have become of nuclear power in the heartland of nuclear fission? Initially, the nuclear promise—at least until the fast breeder dream was shattered—even provided the lunatic idea of ​​powering airplanes with nuclear fission or solving the world’s fuel shortages with nuclear detonations over deep-lying gas wells. Luckily, that’s all long forgotten, the technology optimists of the past are today’s recyclers.

In an open letter that a “pro-scientific initiative” called Replanet addressed to Chancellor Olaf Scholz and included a call for the continued operation of the last three German nuclear power plants, the German physics Nobel Prize winner Klaus von Klitzing, the American laureate Steven Chu and various other experts in favor of extending the lifetime of the nuclear reactors “in the interest of the citizens of Germany, Europe and the world”. If you believe the polls, four out of five Germans would also sign it. So where to, one might ask, with all the fresh nuclear enthusiasm in the country that has now boiled up and is creeping like hot lava out of the old crater of the cross-party nuclear phase-out decisions? Let it subside, as Chancellor Olaf Scholz certainly has in mind, or prepare for a nuclear revival, as the Bavarian Prime Minister says it is striving for?

After all the turns in nuclear policy in the past, there is now much to suggest that the new fire will be extinguished quickly, and that it will be driven by the market economy and not by executive power. The power generation costs for solar and wind energy, which are meanwhile unrivalled, and the economic pragmatism of the energy companies (“planning security please”) can hardly be ignored. And the frequent misunderstanding, not only instigated in the open letter to Scholz, that the climate crisis could be solved with emission-free nuclear power, should also quickly disappear in view of the currently rapidly shrinking share of nuclear power in the global energy market.

It is not coal that will replace nuclear reactors, and everyone knows that not permanently. Reasonably, it is electricity from renewable sources, which can now be produced cheaper, more sustainably and safely than anything imaginable since the first nuclear promise. We remember: “freedom energy”, that is the choice of words of the nuclear friend and technology optimist Christian Lindner. In the overheated world constrained by crises, it is hard to imagine anything more promising. The future can come.

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