Berlin’s decision to shut down its last three nuclear reactors is a disaster, and all the smug tweets in the world can’t paper over that.
Joe acts like it’s surprising that those pushing green energy are against nuclear. That’s only surprising if you believe those pushing green energy are interested in saving the environment vs. neo-Marxists looking to destroy capitalism.
If you hold the latter perspective, the fact that the greens are anti-nuclear is perfectly aligned with their policy goals.
Additionally, check out how the greens are playing with our children’s mental health to progress those goals.
The irony is that safe, clean nuclear, is much better for than environment, than any other battery/fossil fuel sources we currently use.
In response to the last line of this article: No, they won't. They will fall asleep every night quite easily, resting assured in the belief that they are "on the right side of history". I spoke with a very good friend of mine, a German woman around the same age as me (35), just this weekend about the war in Ukraine. Specifically, I talked about the outsized financial contribution from the US and the need for increased contribution from the rest of NATO members. Her response was complete incredulity at such a suggestion, stating that Germany is taking in more refugees than any other nation and thus has already committed more financially than they should have to, and that if the US wants to spend less on Ukraine they should simply do so.
As with literally any and every issue, people are too comfortably enconsed in their opinion, and on the Left people are too self-assured that they are morally justified in their beliefs, for any of this to change. Germany is staring straight at a Russian invasion of mainland Europe and they still see no need to change course. I can assure you the political elite are not suffering from any self-doubt over their obviously self-destructive decisions.
Ironic how of all people, it was Trump who was called all sorts of names by the Davos Jet Set for pointing out this insane German position in 2018-2019. He also rightly pointed out that Europe had hollowed out their militaries which welcomed Russian aggression.
Irrationality wins the day. The twisted idea of abandoning nuclear energy for fear of the nuclear apocalypse while declaring the climate change apocalypse to be imminent is unfortunately not the only failure of this government. Romantic emotionality wins the day and loses the economy.
I am an American living here in Germany for the past 20 plus years. I honestly thought that with the war starting in Ukraine last year, the government would have the foresight to re-think their closing of nuclear plants. Nope! So incredibly short-sighted. I have no words.
I'm an American living in France since roughly 1995...about 28 years. The present nuclear policy (very recent, within the year) is a return to a sensible, long-term energy outlook established after the oil price choques of the 1970's. France has its own Green Party (Écologistes, etc.), and within it one finds a mixed back of irrational fear/loathing/ hatred of (1) Capitalism (2) Technology (3) Economic Growth and (4) a complacent, lazy, ignorant conflation of the atomic weapons with atomic energy. Thanks to the war in Ukraine, the national conversation about energy policy seems to have turned unusually lucid and the influence of the "Greens" on the conversation seems to be close to zero.
I spend a career designing hardware and software for radiation detectors. After Fukushima, I gave a talk on nuclear power at my kids' unusually enlightened elementary school for Earth Day. I opened by asking who would be terrified to live within 50 miles of a nuclear plant. All hands went up, including the science teacher. I said surprise, you all do - in those days New Jersey derived more than half its electric generation from nuclear energy. I still have the slide show.
Nuclear really is safer and better for the environment than any other technology for equivalent power generation. The original Sierra Club, which was a lot more pragmatic than its radical offshoot Greenpeace, came to the same conclusion and supported the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California in preference to a dam.
I see comments below raising the waste issue. Largely because of the influence of a group at Princeton University fearful of nuclear weapon proliferation, the US uses a "once-through" fuel cycle which results in a large volume of waste (still negligible by comparison with coal, though). France recycles its spent fuel, concentrating the highly radioactive short half-life by-products and blending the resulting fissionable plutonium oxides with uranium-235 oxide into so-called mixed oxide fuel. There are two big benefits. First, the volume of really dangerous waste is greatly reduced. France stores all the waste from 60 years of nuclear power in a single facility in Le Hague. Second, the plutonium comes from neutron bombardment of U-238, which is 96% or so of the uranium in first-pass reactor fuel. So the process makes more fuel from the original fuel.
No state has ever built a nuclear weapon from spent reactor fuel. Plutonium for weapons is made in a special-purpose reactor, because if U-238 is exposed too long in neutron bombardment, like the 2 years it spends in a power reactor, you get a mixture of Pu-239 (which goes boom) and Pu-240 (which is too unstable to make a bomb). The mass difference between the isotopes is less than 1/3 that of U-238 vs. U-235, so it's very hard to separate them. So we hobbled out nuclear power industry decades ago with no benefit in non-proliferation. Oh well.
When opponents claim "millions of years" of waste storage is necessary, that is (to borrow a phrase) misinformation. Radioactive isotopes decay exponentially, with the time expressed in "half-life": the time for half of the remaining atoms to decay. Math people will recognize this never goes all the way to zero. It is Zeno's paradox, a near-infinite sequence of cutting in half, until you're watching the last atom. With U-238's half life of 4.5 billion years, that could take a while.
The bad actors are the intermediate half-life isotopes, which are present in small volume and separated out during fuel reprocessing. These have half-lives of tens to hundreds of years, and after 20 half-lives, radioactivity is a million times lower. So a more realistic confinement time is a few thousand years. The Egyptians build the pyramids about 5000 years ago. They're still around, and we have better technology now. Dangerous isotopes are melted into a glass to give resistance to erosion before burial. Look up "nuclear waste vitrification". The Yucca Mountain facility, if it were completed, could easily hold centuries worth of the waste from fuel reprocessing.
If it’s any consolation, nuclear opposition in Germany is very much an old person’s game, as well as for the Greens, who have dropped from 22% to 15% in the polls inside of a year. They have left government in Berlin and have lost a string of important mayoral elections.
Younger, more educated voters aren’t nearly as irrational towards nuclear power, and opposition to nuclear opposition, but sixty-somethings are really dead set on this.
Too late though. The whole industry is gone.
Germans still have no idea how increasingly negative they’re viewed abroad. In fact, they’re still smarter than you.
Why are the greens opposed to the world’s only carbon free, safe and sustainable power source? Because it is carbon free, safe and sustainable. And that’s the last thing they actually want. If you don’t mind me posting here.. here’s a view from the UK. https://open.substack.com/pub/lowstatus/p/save-the-planet-unleash-godzilla?r=evzeq&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web
I loved this analogy: It’s as if your irresponsible neighbor started a house fire with his outmoded stove, so you decide that you can only use your microwave from now on 😂
From a national psychology standpoint, I think each specific fear that a culture has is more a symbolic fear of losing control of a national identity rather than a valid fear of the thing itself. It’s a totemic fear rather than a real fear. It represents a populace’s ability to say NO to reason. For some countries it is the ability to say no to a moralizing US. To other populaces it is an opportunity to say no to their own government. You can’t argue against the NO with reason. It probably needs to be replaced with a more benign fear or totem. Very few governmental leaders are that smart, of course.
The leader of the eco groups, much like BLM, can’t be convinced by reason because for them, the benefit of the irrational fight is both financial and status. The issue itself is merely a tool they can use to gain wealth and status. They are hucksters and the issue is just the con they have chosen. They can’t be convinced their cause is irrational because they don’t believe in it themselves.
Lastly, Europe. I used to read the comments section of the Financial Times. Most Europeans have an astonishingly misinformed view of the US yet are stubbornly sure they are correct. The most surprising thing from those comments was the degree of hatred most Europeans have for the US. Honestly, I think the only thing that holds Europe together is their hatred of us. We are their piñata on every issue. If we came out against nuclear power they would think it is the greatest thing since ice cream with sprinkles.
Not meaning to add a paranoid note, but it seems likely that a Russian-sponsored "communist" influence on Green ideology helped to drive its anti-nuclear agenda.
Facts and real data always trump predictions that turn out to be inaccurate. Pick your topic: covid, climate, transitory inflation. Yet the inaccurate predictors are the golden girls and boys
First paragraph: Americans are irrationally fearful of vaping, because it can save lives. Why and how? Because it’s a better alternative to smoking and will help people off tobacco? Okay, but vaping is also bad for you. Think about it: You’re coating your lungs with chemical vapors. Not tobacco smoke, but still. I’m not “irrationally” opposed to vaping.
Otherwise, I enjoyed this brief history of Germany’s self-destructive move off nuclear energy, possibly only the most baffling example of how “irrationally” the Climate Change crowd has been able to influence - dare I say dictate? - policy. Meanwhile, neighboring France has ramped up its reliance on nuclear. The US should do the same, but too many of our own politicians are in thrall to the “greens.”
A cautionary tale for the US on several fronts.
First, note that, in shuttering its nukes, Germany must rely on natural gas. Proving, yet again, that with the exception of hydro, there are really only TWO reliable ways of generating electricity - natural gas or nuclear (if you exclude coal because there really is no clean coal.) Therefore, our home grown lunatics who are pushing us toward "renewable" wind and solar are nothing but saboteurs.
Second, there was no "accident" at the Fukushima complex. It was hit by a massive tidal wave produced by a similarly massive earthquake and the backup generators needed to provide power to cool the reactors were washed away. This was a design defect that is easily remedied. Moreover, the Fukushima reactors are an old design based on 1950s submarine reactors. New, next gen nukes are smaller, modular, safer and more efficient. We ignore them at our peril.
Third, note that Gerhard Schroeder was and is in bed with Putin. So having a traitor at the helm of one's country is not as far fetched as one might think. Consider this when you pooh pooh notions that the Big Guy taking a cut of China's filthy lucre might be in the Oval Office today. Another verity we ignore at our peril.