Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Germany: a gradual phasing out of nuclear

Germany became the first major industrial power to abandon nuclear energy: Berlin has announced this Monday, May 30, will close its last reactor in 2022. This decision, accelerated by the disaster Fukushima in March, is a challenge in a country where nuclear power accounts for 22% of electricity production.

The gradual closure of the 17 reactors in operation closure of the 17 German reactors will be done gradually. In the immediate future, it relates to the eight oldest. Seven have been deactivated in March following the accident in Fukushima. An eighth, near Hamburg, was arrested in 2009 following an accident.

They will not be returned to service even if one of them will be "paused" to cover any shortage of energy. "The reactor is stopped but he continues to be maintained etrefroidit, so you can restart," said Bernard Laponche, nuclear physicist and expert in energy policy, a member of the Association fortunate Global, an association of scientific criticism of nuclear energy.

Of the nine reactors remaining six will be decided by the end of 2021. In case of problems in the energy transition, the three most recent will continue to operate for another year. What energy to replace nuclear power? By 2022, Germany will have to replace the energy from which 22% of its electricity and today, he must compensate the 6.8% corresponding to the eight reactors already arrested.

"For now, the Germans will perhaps use a little more coal [43% of Germany's electricity] and import a little more electricity," said Bernard Laponche, "but transiently. Germany, where the decision to phase out nuclear power had been taken first in 2002 by the government of Gerhard Schroeder, will "reduce consumption of electricity and in parallel, increasing the share of renewable energy," explains the physicist.

In fact, a document drafted by the government and was able to get Monday, May 30, said that Germany plans to reduce electricity consumption by 10% in 2020. Specifically, "there is a whole battery of measures already planned by the energy efficiency plan and they will probably accelerate.

These measures relate to the industry, with programs for engines less fuel, buildings, whose consumption will be reduced, and appliances and audiovisual, which have "significant potential" for energy savings. On renewable energy, they already represent 18% of electricity production. If nothing has been announced yet, their share in electricity production should increase.

The price of electricity will he grow? "There may be an increase, but not extravagant proportions," predicts Laponche Bernard, who notes in passing that the recent commitment by EDF to increase rates by 30% in five years shows that even with nuclear energy , "there's this phenomenon of increase." Moreover, "if, equal use, you reduce electricity consumption, the bill is not necessarily higher" provides the physicist.

Germany Will it behave like a "rider"? Reacting to Monday morning German project, Laurence Parisot, the boss of the MEDEF wondered whether Germany would adopt "the theory of the stowaway" and continue to import French electricity, of which 75% is nuclear. "For now, France has imported more electricity to Germany than vice versa," Bernard Laponche tempers.

In fact, in 2010, according to figures from the electricity transmission network (RTE), the French electricity transmission system, France has exported 9.4 terawatt hours (TWh) in Germany, while Germany exports 16 , 1 to France. Thomas Baïetto

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