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MPs question legality of nuclear shutdown

The Local · 16 Mar 2011, 07:51

Published: 16 Mar 2011 07:51 GMT+01:00

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Parliamentary speaker Norbert Lammert of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats expressed concerns about possible legal issues around Berlin's sudden decision to shutter the nation's oldest nuclear reactors.

"I have asked for a review to see if further legal considerations are necessary," Lammert said in the Wednesday edition of the daily Berliner Zeitung.

The nuclear crisis in Japan prompted Merkel on Tuesday to order the immediate closure of seven of the country's 17 atomic power plants as widespread public opposition to nuclear energy begins to threaten her centre-right coalition, especially in the face of crucial state elections in Baden-Württemberg on March 27.

Germany's opposition is arguing the law passed last autumn by the government extending the lives of German nuclear power plants is still valid and that a shutdown of any plants would also need to happen within a formal legal framework.

Thomas Oppermann, the parliamentary whip of the centre-left Social Democrats, accused Merkel of "repeated disregard for the German parliament." He said it was not acceptable for the chancellor to simply decide by decree not to adhere to a law already on the books.

The government is basing its three-month moratorium on paragraph 19 of its nuclear law, which states that reactors can be shut down in an emergency situation. But some experts have said since there is no apparent danger from German nuclear power plants right now, a shutdown could allow energy companies to sue for damages over lost revenue.

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Wolfgang Pfaffenberg, an economics professor at the University of Bremen, told the website of news magazine Der Spiegel that the planned closure of the reactors until mid-June could cost energy firms more than half a billion euros.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:58 March 16, 2011 by karenandklaus
You gotta kidding me? What's wrong with these politicians? They NEED/WANT to "legalise" the shut down of these nuclear reactors in the Bundestag? These politicians are EGOMANIACS and CHAUVINISTS! EGO vs SAFETY???? It's also more about $$$$$$. If there was a meltdown now, I reckon they would also want to sit in the Bundestag to decide on legaling the shut down too huh? What a bunch of schmucks!
09:05 March 16, 2011 by 23Dan
Shutting down is a rediculous kneejerk reaction. When was the last time Germany had a 9.0 earthquake? How about a tsunami? Ever?

It'll cost the energy companies millions (which will undoubtable be passed on to the consumer) purely so the government can pander to the green lobby. Is there an election coming up? Thought so.
10:36 March 16, 2011 by The-ex-pat

Shutting down 7 power stations, where are we going to get the missing capacity from??
10:40 March 16, 2011 by idiot
> Shutting down 7 power stations, where are we going to get the missing capacity from??

Germany is Europes biggest energy EXPORTER.

Further, there other energy ressources since years.

Such as Swedish H2O Hydro Powerline, Spains Solar Powerline or NFGA Windpowerline from Netherlands.
10:49 March 16, 2011 by karenandklaus
Yes, we are aware that the country needs power. But it's the "audacity" of some egoistic politicians that they need to "legalise" the shutting down of these nuclear power stations is just so ridiculous. They all should unanimously agree that it's way too dangerous. And come to other safer solutions. Has anyone considered the option of building heaps of solar power in the desert or hot areas in the middle east and the sahara desert? I mean it's virtually "free" there since there's heaps of sun.
11:10 March 16, 2011 by Eastard
If there were to be a learning from Japan it would not be that nuclear power is wrong... it would be that corportations cannot be trusted to make the right choices when design considerations are allowed to be balanced against costs... Japan did not design for a probable tsumami and did not design for water for cooling if the facilities were to be unattended... I contend that these probabilities were rulled out and not pursued... In looking back... it seems a design possibility to have a simple steam driven water pump that would use heat from a cooling reactor to pump water... does not require any overview or outside power/fuel and can be left basically unattended. Reactors need water forever... not just during a stage down... This fundamental human/business flaw is the point of justified argument against nuclear power... If only an outside technical excellence group could look at this and design a system to be fail safe...nuclear power would do well.. The design for surviving a huge earthquake is where they put all their attention... I guess the old saying of can't see the forest for the trees is still true...
12:45 March 16, 2011 by beckyhead
@ karenandklaus...

Fail. "Has anyone considered the option of building heaps of solar power in the desert or hot areas in the middle east and the sahara desert? I mean it's virtually 'free' there since there's heaps of sun." Not only silly on how you'd get the power here, but aren't we trying to distance ourselves from that part of the world when it comes to energy. Second, Japan's reactor's are old, when compared to the current generation of nuclear power plant. Nukes need more funds for modernization, not less, in order to make them more efficient, generate less waste, and make them more safe. When are German going to learn that the Greens party is essentially made up of former left-wing radicals, and former E.German communists...all under the guise of environmentalism. Social justics my butt, it's all about control over all aspects of German lives and wealth redistribution in the hands of the few with wacko environmental policies.
16:12 March 16, 2011 by 23Dan
@ karenandklaus...

So the government should just do whatever it thinks is right without checking the legality? Sounds like a recipe for success...
19:05 March 16, 2011 by karenandklaus
nope... only with regards to safety.
07:19 March 17, 2011 by narfmaster

Concerning solar power in the Sahara... 0.3 percent of the Sahara covered in solar collectors could power all of Europe:


This project is already under consideration. It is called Desertec:


While I support nuclear power research, it is hard to see the point of using nuclear energy right now when it is so expensive and has safety issues. As karenandkalaus said: there is a lot of free sun out there.
07:54 March 17, 2011 by Freeman
Just my opinion but doesn't some violent earthly reactions, sound like a result of Global warming? Is any country really exempt? The less ticking bombs the better.
19:41 March 17, 2011 by karenandklaus

cool site! Thanks for the headsup. cheers! =)
00:26 March 18, 2011 by thesilentpsycho
@ narfmaster & karenandklaus

The Destertec is a nice idea but the reality is that with current technology it will not work.

Solar and wind as power sources for electricity both have a fundamental flaw in that they both have large downtimes. Electricity which is put into the power lines doesn¦#39;t stay there indefinitely. It needs a constant input of electricity or we face a power cut.

To put it bluntly, this scheme would see black outs across Europe every single night for hours on end (The rise of food spoilage alone from fridges and freezers no longer functioning around the clock would be an environmental disaster). The only way to get around this is to generate enough electricity during the day to cover both the use at day and night and then use massive capacitors which can store the charge to use at night. As you might image, capacitors that could do anything like this don¦#39;t exist. We simply don¦#39;t have the technology to make what are basically batteries that can power cities let alone nations for close to half the day while charging for the other half.

That¦#39;s not to say that such a leap in capacitor technology isn¦#39;t theoretically possible. But until such a leap happens, solar plants and wind turbines are nothing more than gimmicks for politicians to waste money on in vain attempts to look like they care about the environment.

Nuclear on the other hand, while far from perfect can be relied on to power Germany 24/7. That reliability in my opinion is the most important thing and outways its disadvantages.
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