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German Blueprint For Development

At a time when the major global powers are constantly showcasing their nuclear might, Germany has switched off the last three Power Reactors, bringing an end to its Nuclear Era. The entire Europe is facing a severe energy crisis because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War. They have already started reducing the use of fossil fuels in a phased manner. In such a situation, Berlin has stopped the use of nuclear energy. Surprisingly, the Germans are happy with their Government’s decision.

Germany is an exception in Europe, as other Western nations have become heavily dependent on nuclear energy. RWE AG, a German multinational energy company headquartered in Essen, issued a statement on April 16 (2023), confirming that it disconnected the three nuclear reactors – Emsland, Neckarwestheim II and Isar II – from the power grid. It may be noted that the Central European nation has been planning to abandon the use of nuclear energy since 2002. Berlin gave more importance to this issue after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011, with Angela Dorothea Merkel, the then German Chancellor, taking necessary steps in this regard.

Germany was fully prepared to switch off those three power reactors in 2022. However, the Russia-Ukraine War prompted the concerned authorities to delay the move. Finally, Berlin implemented its plan in mid-April 2023. Ahead of the shutdown, Steffi Lemke, the German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, told the media: “Nuclear power remains a risky technology, and in the end, the risks can’t be controlled even in a high-tech country, like Germany.

Majority of the German citizens are happy with the development, as they still remember the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl, which remains a pivotal event for Germany’s anti-nuclear movement. They celebrated the complete cessation of the use of nuclear energy by organising events in different parts of Germany. Greenpeace, the international environmental NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation), organised an event at Brandenburg Gate, an 18th Century neoclassical monument in Berlin, where the participants destroyed a symbolic dinosaur model. Common people also marched in several German cities to celebrate the historic day. They also thanked their Government for permanently abandoning a dangerous, unsustainable and expensive technology.

Meanwhile, Robert Habeck, the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, claimed that switching off the remaining plants, which generated 4-6% of the country’s power over the past year, would not affect energy security. Speaking at a press conference, he said that the energy situation was under control, as all the gas stores had sufficient reserves of fuel. According to Habeck, the Government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz has successfully tackled the energy crisis, triggered by the Russia-Ukraine War.

As Berlin is also trying to phase out the use of fossil fuels, the Government has decided to produce 80% of the energy required as renewable energy by the end of 2030. The Economic Affairs Minister revealed that his country wanted to get into hydrogen, stressing that the Government would take all the necessary steps in order to make Germany a hub for hydrogen production, using wind and solar power, in the coming years. It is to be noted that Berlin has installed 551 wind turbines in the last one year.

For his part, Lingen Mayor Dieter Krone said: “I believe we are going to become the biggest and most significant location in Germany for hydrogen. As such, I do think we can say this is a kind of blueprint for development.” Now, Germany can also stop enriching uranium and producing fuel rods for all the nuclear plants outside the country.

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