Is europe shutting down nuclear plants?

Nuclear power plants remain unacceptable to the Green Party. Its origins can be traced back to the environmental movement of the 1970s, which cited safety risks and the unresolved issue of nuclear waste.

Is europe shutting down nuclear plants?

Nuclear power plants remain unacceptable to the Green Party. Its origins can be traced back to the environmental movement of the 1970s, which cited safety risks and the unresolved issue of nuclear waste. Germany is taking steps to shut down its three remaining nuclear power plants this year amid concerns about technology safety. The deficit in nuclear generation in the United Kingdom was covered by electricity from gas power plants and imports from Europe.

Critics of Germany's nuclear plan have pointed to the contradiction of abandoning nuclear power while the country's coal-fired power plants continue to pump enormous quantities of carbon dioxide and deadly particles into the atmosphere. The International Energy Agency considers nuclear energy to be an “essential basis of the energy transition”, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe called last year the elimination of nuclear energy a “setback for efforts to combat climate change”. Europe's attitude to nuclear energy is divided between drivers and detractors, and each country makes its own turn to technology. The government of the Czech Republic also has plans to build at least two new nuclear reactors, while the Polish government wants to build the country's first nuclear reactor in a bid to move away from its heavy dependence on coal.

Dries believes that the share of nuclear energy in Europe's energy mix will continue to decline, even if plans for proposed plants in the Czech Republic and Poland go ahead. That disaster, and concerns about the disposal of nuclear waste, also accelerated Germany's nuclear shutdown. With Europe fighting for alternatives to Russian fossil fuels, Germany's insistence on pursuing a plan to shut down the remaining three nuclear power plants by the end of this year baffles many outside the country.

Nanette Thrun
Nanette Thrun

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