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More reactor closures 'could cause blackouts'

The Local · 22 Mar 2011, 08:36

Published: 22 Mar 2011 08:36 GMT+01:00

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Last week, three of the country’s older atomic facilities went dark in compliance with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s three-month moratorium on extending the life of the country’s reactors.

In the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan, Berlin has ordered the shuttering of the seven oldest of Germany's 17 nuclear reactors, at least temporarily.

But electricity production will be strained when the other atomic energy plants are shut down, DENA head Stephan Kohler told daily Passauer Neue Presse.

“There’s nothing there to sugarcoat,” he said. “There is a danger of regional blackouts during peak-demand periods.”

Because less electricity would be produced in the south, more power generated in the north would have to be circulated there, he explained.

“With that we reach the borders of our network capacity,” he told the paper. “That can’t be taken lightly.”

The country needs time to make a major change in energy sourcing, he said.

“An ad hoc exit would be irresponsible,” he said, advocating a return to the law that the centre-left Social Democrats and the Greens passed while in power back in 2000, which would shut down all German reactors by 2020.

This would be a realistic goal, he said, explaining that turning away from nuclear power first required the development of electricity networks.

“Everything else would lead to significantly higher electricity prices. We can’t allow that as an industrial nation,” Kohler said.

Last week Merkel opted to temporarily shut down the country’s older nuclear reactors, telling parliament that a partial atomic meltdown in Japan after an earthquake and tsunami had caused her to reconsider the risks of atomic energy.

Story continues below…

The decision reverses her government’s unpopular decision last October to extend the lifespans of Germany’s nuclear power plants.

Seven reactors are scheduled to be mothballed during the moratorium, with several older models likely to be taken off the grid permanently.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:15 March 22, 2011 by zeddriver
Well! There's a surprise for you. Fear mongering by the media, Convinces the leader of a nation to pull the plug on some power plants. The end result. Prices WILL go up. And we now have the possibility of rolling blackouts this summer. And of course there is the issue of how to replace that power. Tree huggers don't want nuke power, They also protest coal power, They protest hydro electric dams, They protest wind. I hear they think the wind turbines are ugly and Might hurt a bird.

So! to all those in this forum that supported the shut down of the nuke plants. What is your solution to the future of power generation.
09:43 March 22, 2011 by auniquecorn
I suggest we use the power generated from these great minds that are running this country.
10:11 March 22, 2011 by idiot
> Because less electricity would be produced in the south, more power generated in the north would have to be circulated there, he explained.¦quot;With that we reach the borders of our network capacity,¦quot; he told the paper.

10:58 March 22, 2011 by Angry Ami
:-( Just plain stupid, can't just check the safety, and do the maintenance, like they are doing in most US NPP's, no these dweebs have to take the plants off-line and deprive folks of power, and no practical alternative in sight, some of the worse political pandering that I have ever seen, and the Greens ain't got nothing to offer other than hot air, maybe they could pass a law to limit the amount of C02 emissions coming from German politicians, because they sure produce a lot of hot gas.
11:08 March 22, 2011 by idiot
> no practical alternative in sight,

Alternatives are in sight since 1978, 1985 and 1993.

But this dont fit the local energy companys.


Cheaper energy for german customers from Norway, Sweden, netherland or Spain ?!

The f_ck, that means the nuke plants arent subventioned anymore, what means RWE and co. wont get any gold nuggets anymore D:<

I pity Jürgen Großmann already. *sniff* :'(
13:35 March 22, 2011 by DOZ
Each Reactor is a potential Atomic Bomb. How many Constantly Armed Atomic Bombs are in your neighborhood?
14:08 March 22, 2011 by XFYRCHIEF
@DOZ - I assume you are referring to the potential for a radiological release, not actually stating the reactor could cause a nuclear explosion. There is no possibility for a reactor to detonate like an "atomic" bomb; simply cannot happen.

But, then, every petrol station is a gasoline bomb waiting to explode; every natural gas facility is a bomb primed to explode; every hydro plant is a flood disaster waiting to happen. We, as a society, in the name of progress and desire for a better life have come to accept the risks associated with the infrastructure we have built. What are the options? Return to a time when kerosine provide light and coal heat? When the levels of pollution generated by the millions of stoves and fireplaces blanketed the air with pollution?

There are two issues in the balance here - seek alternate ways to generate power and find ways to reduce our reliance on generated power. Both approaches must be used. And didn't I just read about Porsche developing "the most expensive car they ever sold?" I wonder what the fuel efficiency of that will be when driven on your highways.
14:42 March 22, 2011 by idiot
> There is no possibility for a reactor to detonate like an "atomic" bomb; simply cannot happen.

Thats wrong.

Important and responsible is the critical mass. Like in an nuclear bomb the critical mass is reached by blowing the two core elemts together, in a nuclear plant this is only prevented via modulation of neutrons.

Is the critical mass reached, a reactor blows exactly up like a nuclear bomb due to the pressure of the disintegrating elements. the radiation is same way spreaded.

A reactor is nothing else then a nuclear bomb.

But thats not the point. The problem with nuklear plants is the trash. Or how do you wanna save the trash 30.000 years SAFE? We could do it like US Idiots by shooting our trash in the space and just hope it wont hit any satelites. *rolleyes*
14:55 March 22, 2011 by T.J. Morton
You really need to take some basic science courses @idiot. You are just flat out wrong.

A critical mass is the mass and configuration necessary to reach criticality. Criticality only means that the reaction is self sustaining and that power is at steady state.

And more importantly, a nuclear power plant uses fuel with fuel ~5% enriched in U-235. A bomb made of uranium needs an enrichment of >90% U-235.

It is not PHYSICALLY possible for a nuclear power plant to have a nuclear explosion.

And just out of curiosity, what trash is the U.S. shooting into space?
15:50 March 22, 2011 by tallady
T J Morton,,thanks for clearing that up...There is little to no point in trying to reach that idiot.
15:58 March 22, 2011 by c12dat
DOZ ... sir, you are an idiot.

idiot ... sir, your name is sufficient.

Please listen to Mr. Morton and take some basic science classes prior to contributing to global warming by blowing CO2 out of your mouths.
16:19 March 22, 2011 by idiot
> And more importantly, a nuclear power plant uses fuel with fuel ~5% enriched in U-235. A bomb made of uranium needs an enrichment of >90% U-235.

Due to the less mass. If the reactor core blows up, the spreading of radiation is in worst case higher then within a nuclear bomb. depending on material is used for the modulation.

A powerplant is a defacto nuclear bomb in point of the spreading of radiation - yes right, not in points of the power of the explosion.
18:00 March 22, 2011 by c12dat
I feel a rise in the global temperature.

Please stop.
19:26 March 22, 2011 by zeddriver
Yep! as I suspected. Not a single idea of alternative sources of power from the anti-everything crowd. They always seem to be against something. But have precious few alternative ideas.

It would be great to be rid of all forms of power generation that creates pollution. But how about coming up with an idea for new clean energy and implementing it first BEFORE pulling the plug on the old.

If it's done the other way around. We will be sitting in our cold dark homes scratching our heads saying. Man! We didn't think that one through did we.

I was a tech working on nuke missiles at one point in my life. Mr. Morton is spot on.
19:36 March 22, 2011 by JOBE
just go to youtube and look for:

Wie die Bundesregierung sauberen Strom aus Norwegen blockiert - REPORT MAINZ - DAS ERSTE

no other comments ....
22:34 March 22, 2011 by cobalisk
Umm, rather than getting into a flame fight over reactor safety, how about we stop for a second and consider the source of the information in the article...

German Energy Agency (DENA) is not a government agency, it is in fact a financial interest group which focuses on the energy sector. Its members are a veritable who's who of German banks


This explains their stance. Take this very biased press release with the massive skepticism it deserves.
23:25 March 22, 2011 by BR549
I would rather have nuclear power plants in the hands of competent GERMAN engineers than some "dolt" in Eastern Europe running the plant, exporting to Germany (at a higher rate) and if an accident happened, having radiation screwing Germany anyway.

Use this resource in a safe, cost-effective manner until R&D creates a cleaner, more efficient source of energy.

Quit having knee-jerk reactions to everything, Germany!! think it through....CALMLY.
07:17 March 23, 2011 by belladons
As always, idiot people who believes anything from the idiot media have no place in any billet of leadership including government officials. I laugh my a** off at the decisions made by government officials. It's literally comical...
10:23 March 23, 2011 by zeddriver

Wind energy from Norway is a great thing "so long as the wind is blowing" And that's the problem. When consumer demand goes up, I.E. a summer heat wave. The power company can't demand that God raise up the winds to match the demand. The same can be said of solar. Nice when it's day time. Provided there isn't heavy cloud cover. Which in Germany seems to be all winter for the most part.

And of course night time is another issue.

We will always require as source of energy that can be stored. I.E. fossil fuel or atomic to provide energy when it's not sunny, or the winds not blowing.
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