P.Planning means replacing chance with error. The energy transition shows how this works, because it is obvious that coal, oil and gas cannot be replaced by sun and wind in a hurry. That does not work in the power supply and especially for the entire primary energy. Now it is supposed to judge the nuclear power, which is given a green color. It has been controversial for half a century, but now its supporters are on the up because it doesn’t emit CO2.
The objections are of course still the same, they prove that climate neutral and environmentally friendly do not have to be the same thing: the risk of serious accidents, radioactive waste and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In addition, many systems are getting on in years, and in the dry summers the coolant becomes scarce on rivers. Because two thirds of the energy is generated as heat, what rises from the towers is water vapor. The hopes of many now rest on new types. Some are said to be safer (with a view to the current old ones, that is not reassuring), instead of burning uranium or plutonium, which is more readily available, or being mass-produced as mini-systems; Cooling problems are naturally more manageable in small reactors than in large ones.
Anyone who takes a closer look at it, however, realizes that none of this is all that new. Mini-reactors have always been used to power ships, but they still have to prove that the problems mentioned can be solved by spreading them over many plants. Anyone looking for a fast breeder will find a ruined investment in Kalkar, while that of a high-temperature reactor is in Hamm. New generations, like those tried out by the Chinese, are said to be much better; we shall see whether it is so. This is all the more true for future types powered by liquid salt or metal, which are said to be able to eat some of the nuclear waste. The concept is controversial among experts, we stay out of it.
It doesn’t matter either. Nuclear energy is not the solution to the climate problem; its share in energy production is manageable in almost all countries for good reason. It is understandable that the operating countries want to continue using existing systems, but in Germany that could not even replace half of coal. And new projects are like the Berlin airport, delays and breakdowns let the costs skyrocket and postpone the start of operations until sometime. One kilowatt hour of electricity can currently be produced for around four to fifteen cents; Wind is cheap, and the trend is falling, while new nuclear facilities are at the upper end of the scale and the trend is rising. To put it bluntly: there is simply no coal for a more intensive expansion of nuclear energy.
The concern of the German climate minister that a green label could turn the money in the wrong direction is therefore justified. If it instead flows into gas-fired power plants, that is of course also wrong. Natural gas burns cleaner than oil or even coal, but its main component, methane, is released when it is extracted, a powerful greenhouse gas, not to mention dependencies. The European deal to green gas too is the bankruptcy of Germany’s exit policy. Nuclear power and coal continuously supply electricity, solar and wind do not, and storage facilities are virtually non-existent. Therefore, the neighbors will have to close the gap with the unpopular energy sources atom and coal.
How do you get the cart out of the dirt again? No idea. It would be best if we first set up a working group.
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