Can Europe go green without nuclear power? Germany is shutting its nuclear plants and wants others to follow its example. Few are listening. TEN YEARS ago, after a tsunami hit the Fukushima reactor in northern Japan, causing a nuclear disaster, Germany decided to phase out its 12 nuclear power stations. Within months, the first plants were closed. At the end of 2022 the fuel rods for the last three will be pulled out for the last time. Germany wants to be carbon neutral by 2045. The European Union is aiming for net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. But can Europe meet its goals if its biggest economy has abjured nuclear power? European countries that produce nuclear power emit consistently lower levels of carbon dioxide than those that do not (see right-hand chart). Between 2000 and 2019, Germany’s emissions per person were, on average, 43% higher than those of countries with nuclear power. This is mainly because it still relies heavily on fossil fuels for electricity and heating. Other countries, such as Denmark and Iceland, have managed to reduce emissions without using nuclear power—but they both benefit from windy shorelines where wind turbines whir more powerfully.
Economist 15th Aug 2021 read more »