Germany Getting Off Nuclear Energy

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Michael Levi, senior fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations, discusses the economic ripple effects of Germany announcing that it will get off nuclear power.


Michael Levi

Comments [12]

Giuseppe from Manhattan

Germany may follow in the footsteps of Italy.
As a consequence of a referendum in 1987, Italy phased out
nuclear power generation and ended up massively importing
power generated by the French nuclear plants just across
the border.

Curiously, just before the Fukushima disaster Berlusconi was
pushing for a resumption of domestic nuclear power generation.

Jun. 02 2011 12:40 AM
unwashed masses from nyc

Mr. "the-reality-is" Levi is an idiot and to this extend Brian is too: Talking about nuclear energy in the same breath as renewables is brain dead. It's apples and oranges. The dismantling of a decommissioned nuclear power plant takes up to 25 years and cost 1-5 billion USD. The spent fuel rod issue is COMPLETELY unsolved, Yucca mountain and everywhere else is contentious at best and producing energy where the by product is lethal radiation for generations is insanity by any other name.
The reality is that this segment was among the shallowest ever and not worthy your otherwise stellar shows.

Jun. 01 2011 11:46 AM
Lars from Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

Why is it, in all of these public discussions of how to meet the power demands of the 21st Century, that no one talks about conservation? I've rigged several power strips in my home to turn off modern electronic devices that are manufactured WITHOUT AN 'OFF' SWITCH. My power bill went down by 25% after doing this. We waste waaaay too much energy.

Jun. 01 2011 11:30 AM
GEO from Astoria

Russia has an abundance of natural resources and Germany has an abundance of technology and manufacturing.

This shows that they have made a deal.
One that the US should be worried about.

While America was distracted in our wars in the Middle East, Germany and Russia where making deals that will increase their influence in the world and minimize Americas.
And when you say Germnay you are basically saying EU.

Jun. 01 2011 11:22 AM
Stephen Kent from Garrison NY

Germany will be nuclear free by 2022 and 20% of their electricity is nuclear. Indian Point provides much less of New York's electricity, and their designed lifespan runs out in 2013 and 2015. They must not be relicensed. The last NRC public hearing on Indian Point before the relicensing decision gets made is tomorrow evening, Thursday, June 2 in Cortland, NY, accessible from Manhattan by free bus and train from Grand Central -- see

New York gets much less electricity from Indian Point, and could easily live without it without disrupting the grid. The reactors are aging, leaking and frought with risks, including seismic risk. 20 million Americans live within 50 miles. IP contains about 3 times the radioactivity in their fuel pools than the entire Fukushima complex -- see the new report by the Institute for Policy Studies. An accident here would be much worse than Fukushima.

Jun. 01 2011 11:20 AM
Tom Thompson from Pelham, MA

Germany installed 7.4 giga watts of Solar PV last year. That is the equivalent of 7 large nuclear plants of capacity in one year. Indian Point is three nukes, each about 1 GW. Most of the systems are under 100 kW in size, meaning lots of local jobs, plus manufacturing. Also alot of wind and biomass. It is already at scale. We need to adopt pulbic policies in NYS to make this happen here. We get 40% more sun than Germany. NYC would benefit the most.

Jun. 01 2011 11:18 AM
Brooklyn Peter

Switzerland made a very similar announcement last week, too. True, it is a much smaller country than Germany. But this is still major news. For some reason, Switzerland's announcement was not widely covered, but it actually preceded Germany's.

Jun. 01 2011 11:18 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I applaud Merkel for her brave and wise decision to glean Germany off of nuclear energy. If any country can do it, I am certain Germany is that country. But besides the environmental reasons, there are other geopolitical considerations as well. If Germany shows it is willing, and more importantly capable of going off nuclear, that undercuts the arguments of Iran and others who claim they need civilian nuclear plants so badly.

And German companies like Siemens are leaders in solar, and have even invested in and bought up some innovative Israeli solar companies as well.

Jun. 01 2011 11:14 AM
John from NYC

Will this make Germany more dependent on Russian gas?

Jun. 01 2011 11:13 AM
Frank from Rockaway NJ

Currently France is the power supplier for Europe. France will gain a new customer and sell power to Germany as it does to UK and Italy.

Jun. 01 2011 11:09 AM
Gene Smith from Cheeeeery Hill NJ

The pragmatic Germans realize the MASSIVE costs involved with decommissioning (tearing down) old Nuke Plants. Some estimates are TWENTY times construction costs. Here in NJ we have a few creaky corroded plants running on duct tape and chewing gum. Why? It's next to IMPOSSIBLE to service their infrastructure and no one knows HOW to address this. Many years ago when they were built there was a feeling science would move forward at a pace seen with the Moon Mission and problems would have solutions. Of course all THAT money and our "best and brightest" went to WALL STREET Goniffs!

Jun. 01 2011 11:06 AM
Patrick from Bronx

Are any other countries following Germany's lead in turning away from nuclear?

Jun. 01 2011 06:32 AM

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