Germany

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Electricity generation in Germany:

Nuclear power

Approx. 30% of the electricity produced in Germany are from nuclear power. Currentlly (Feb. 2009) 17 reactors are operational.
All reactors were built by Siemens-KWU.

Electricity generation

Germany's electricity production in 2006 was 633 billion kWh gross, about 6300 kWh per capita. Coal provides about half of the country's electricity. (source: world-nuclear.org)

Developments in the nuclear sector:

2011, Aug: Final shutdown

8 nuclear power plants are shut down permanently after the accident in Fukushima:
- Biblis A and B
- Brunsbuettel
- Isar 1
- Kruemmel
- Neckarwestheim 1
- Philippsburg 1
- Unterweser

2011, May: Germany plans phase out of nuclear again

"Germany's coalition government has announced a reversal of policy that will see all the country's nuclear power plants phased out by 2022.

The decision makes Germany the biggest industrial power to announce plans to give up nuclear energy.

Environment Minister Norbert Rottgen made the announcement following late-night talks.

Chancellor Angela Merkel set up a panel to review nuclear power following the crisis at Fukushima in Japan.

There have been mass anti-nuclear protests across Germany in the wake of March's Fukushima crisis, triggered by an earthquake and tsunami.
'Sustainable energy'

Mr Rottgen said the seven oldest reactors - which were taken offline for a safety review immediately after the Japanese crisis - would never be used again. An eighth plant - the Kruemmel facility in northern Germany, which was already offline and has been plagued by technical problems, would also be shut down for good.

Six others would go offline by 2021 at the latest and the three newest by 2022, he said."

(source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13592208)

2011, March: Temporary shut-down of 7 reactors after accident in Japan

Online: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20110315-33727.html

Germany announced Tuesday it would temporary shut down the oldest seven of its 17 nuclear reactors pending a safety review in light of Japan's atomic emergency.

"We are launching a safety review of all nuclear reactors ... with all reactors in operation since the end of 1980 set to be idled for the period of the (three-month) moratorium," Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

This covers seven nuclear reactors: Biblis A and B, Neckarwestheim, Brunsbüttel, Isar 1, Unterweser and Philippsburg 1. Germany decided a decade ago to be nuclear-free by 2020, but this target was postponed until the mid-2030s by Merkel's government last October despite strong public opposition.

Japan's government has said radiation levels near the Fukushima nuclear plant have reached levels harmful to humans, advising thousands of people to stay indoors after two explosions and a fire at the facility Tuesday.

Four of the six reactors at the plant, 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Tokyo, have now overheated and sparked explosions since Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems.

"After this moratorium, which will run until June 15... we will know how to proceed," Merkel said following crisis talks in Berlin with premiers of German states where there are nuclear plants.

She said Berlin would also use the period to discuss what to do with radioactive waste - no permanent storage site exists - boosting renewable energies, and international safety standards for nuclear power.

"Safety standards in Germany are one thing, they are important, but safety standards in Europe, being able to compare then, and international safety standards are also important," Merkel said.

Germany's older plants include one in Bavaria, two near Frankfurt and two in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg - where a key state election takes place on March 27, with nuclear power set to be a major issue.

Sigmar Gabriel, head of the centre-left opposition Social Democrats (SPD), called for all seven reactors to be shut down permanently.

After the moratorium, Merkel "is just going to come back and say that everything is okay and that German nuclear plants are safe," Gabriel said, accusing Merkel of "election trickery." The SPD, along with the Greens, initiated Germany's phaseout of atomic energy in 2000.

"The era of nuclear energy is finished," he said.

A survey by public broadcaster ARD published on Tuesday had 53 percent of respondents saying all reactors - which produce a quarter of Germany's power - should be taken out of service as soon as possible.

Seventy percent thought that an accident similar to that in Japan could happen in Germany, and 80 percent want Merkel to reverse the government's extension of operating times, the poll of 909 voters showed.

Germans have long been uneasy about the safety of nuclear power, with shipments of nuclear waste regularly attracting angry protests and Merkel's decision sparking large-scale demonstrations last year.

On Monday large numbers of people worried about nuclear safety - more than 100,000 according to organisers - took to the streets nationwide. On Saturday people formed a 45-kilometre human chain between a nuclear plant and Baden-Württemberg's state capital Stuttgart.

Merkel says that the extension is necessary because green technologies like solar and wind power are not yet ready to fill the gap left by abandoning atomic energy.

But opponents accuse her of being motivated more by extra profits for energy firms - whose shares fell sharply on Tuesday for the second straight day - rather than concern for the environment.

2010, Dec: German government confirms 1.163 nuclear incidents

In an answer of the German Bundestag to an inquiry of several delegates of the Bundestag the competent ministry confirms that there were 1.163 notifiable incidents in Germans nuclear power plants betwenn 2000 and 2010 (remark: the majority of them having no or little safety significance).

Germany wants to continue with its plans about plant lifetime extension despite those incidents and large protests of the population.

2010: Extension of plant lifetimes

"Plans to extend the lifespan of Germany's nuclear power stations took the last legislative hurdle when a bill was passed in Germany's Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament on Friday, but opposition parties have vowed to appeal the decision.

Although surveys show that a majority of Germans are opposed to atomic power because of concerns over safety, Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right coalition government decided to extend the operating lives of the 17 German plants by an average of 12 years. The move overturns a law passed by a previous government of Social Democrats and Greens that would have seen the last plant shut down in 2022.

Germany has seen numerous anti-nuclear demonstrations in recent months, often supported by opposition politicians. Earlier this month, thousands protested against the latest transport of nuclear waste to a storage facility in the northern town of Gorleben"

(source: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6272042,00.html?maca=en-newsletter_en_bulletin-2097-html-nl)

2010, Jan: Germany decides on how to treat rad. waste in Asse

"Thousands of barrels are to be removed from Germany's Asse radioactive waste disposal facility, a salt dome which has proven unstable.

The decision has come from the country's Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenshutz, BfS), which described the job as a "major scientific and technological challenge".

Some 126,000 barrels are to be removed to the surface for alternative storage. They contain low-level radioactive waste such as lightly contaminated clothes, paper and equipment. In most countries these are disposed of permanently in purpose-built landfills, carefully lined to protect surrounding land. Asse, by contrast, is within a network of tunnels and caverns left by salt mining research operations.

It was decided to use Asse in the 1960s and 1970s but this is seen as a licensing failure: The complex is in the upper portions of the salt, which are now unstable and increasingly allowing the ingress of groundwater. Ultimately this would be expected to erode waste canisters and allow contamination of groundwater.

To address this, the BfS considered three options:

* Filling the complex with concrete to provide a stable matrix
* Moving wastes to a stable area deeper in the salt mass
* Removing the wastes for interim storage on the surface

The BfS said that an argument against the first option was that it could not be shown to satisfy long-term safety requirements. Meanwhile, the second option relies on the identification of an deep area of salt stable enough to satisfy German law. It would also be an especially long-lasting and challenging project.

Both of the latter options require every canister to be checked and possibly repackaged using a new underground process line.

While deciding on removal to the surface, the BfS warned that none of its options were optimal and all were uncertain. It noted that unpredictability of the salt and degradation of the packages could potentially prove to be too great a danger to workers. However, long-term security was its priority and the BfS would proceed with removal. It concluded that it will soon present a plan to open the waste vaults and investigate the exact condition of the barrels."

(source: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org)

2009, Oct:

German Federal Environmental Agency warns that nuclear power is no climate saver

taz - 09.10.2009

"Nuclear is not a climate saver

ENERGY: Phase-out of nuclear phase-out can threaten climate targets, warns the German
Federal Environmental Agency. Nevertheless the coalition programme draft says: the capping
of life time will be "lifted".

HANNA GERSMANN AND MALTE KREUTZFELDT

The black-yellow coalition is risking the climate targets of Germany when it prolongues the life
time for nuclear power stations without further measures. This according a warning from
Jochen Flasbarth, the president of the German Environmental Agency (UBA). The authority
advices the Federal Government in environmental questions.

The Christen Democrat Union and liberal FDP argue similar to the utilities, that nuclear power
plants save the climate. But the Environmental Agency questions that - and explains: When the
seven oldest reactors in the next legislative periode will not be closed, different to what is
planned so far, there will be in the coming three years in the electricity production 60 to 64
Million tons less CO2 emissions - depending on which electricity mix will be replaced by the
nuclear electricity.

In case in the same time emission trading will not be sharpened, this reduction will not help the
climate, says Jochen Flasbarth: "The amount of CO2 saved by the NPPs will be emitted
somewhere else." Because in emission trading, the total amount of CO2 that companies are
allowed to emit is capped - around 550 Million tons per year. When the electricity production
needs less emission rights, they will be used by the industry in another place. In this case,
longer life times would not only not benefit the climate in any way - they would even harm it. A
larger offer of emission rights on the market would lead to clear decreases in price.
Investments in climate saving techniques would in that case be less profitable than buying
emission rights.

The Federal Government would furthermore see decreased income from certificate auctioning.
This money is already planned for climate saving measures.

Whoever would leave seven old NPPs on the grid has to take emission rights from the market,
is the demand from UBA-chief Flasbarth. "Who does not do so, is damaging our climate
target."

So far, the CDU and FDP have not reacted. TAZ has access to the draft that the working group
"Environment" has prepared for the chapter "nuclear energy" in the coalition contract. It says
there that "the life time capping of German nuclear power stations on 32 years will be lifted."
The life times should be determined on the basis of "safety demands on the reactors", that
"should be according to the highest international norms". And further: "Among others, older
installations can only be continued on the middle term if they have a construction security
against an airplaine crash comparable to the newest installations." Important is here, because
not very specific: "in the middle term". The reactors should also meet the "latest stand of
upgrading technology". That term is unclear, because normally one would speak about the
"latest stand of science and technique".

These are not the final wordings. They will be discussed in other groups. Jochen Stay from the
initiative 'ausgestrahlt' it is clear: "The coalition partners want to open the door for nuclear
power as wide as possible.""

(source: article in http://www.taz.de, translated by Jan Havercamp, distributed by no-nukes list)

2009, Sept:

Tractor trec anti-nuclear demonstration

" Farm tractors are rumbling across Germany to a mass anti-nuclear rally in Berlin at the weekend which promises to thrust the divisive issue into the federal election campaign weeks before polling day.

The future of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants, due to be shut down by the early 2020s, is one of the major issues that divides Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives from the Social Democrats (SPD) of her challenger, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

But it has been largely ignored in the run-up to the Sept. 27 election, in which Merkel's conservatives and their preferred coalition partners, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), are campaigning for an extension of nuclear power.

Thousands are expected to join Saturday's rally against those plans, led by farmers from Wendland -- a region through which nuclear waste is transported.

Political analysts said even though the long dispute between Merkel's conservatives and Steinmeier's SPD has had little impact on the campaign, the nuclear issue could mobilise voters in both camps -- particularly in the SPD.

"This demonstration has the potential to turn the nuclear issue into a hot topic down the home stretch," said Dietmar Herz, political scientist at Erfurt University, pointing to mass protests against past nuclear waste shipments to storage depots.

"So far it's played almost no role at all, which is a bit surprising considering it's one of the few issues where the CDU and SPD are completely at odds. I think we're going to see their differences on nuclear power highlighted in the last few weeks."

Data from the BDEW industry association shows that nuclear energy provided 23 percent of Germany's power needs in 2008, compared to 42 percent from coal-fired power stations, 14 percent from gas-fired generation and 15 percent from renewable energy sources.

"POST-NUCLEAR AGE"

Opinion polls show Germans oppose nuclear power, often by large majorities.

In 2001, the SPD pushed through legislation with their coalition partners the Greens to phase out the use of nuclear power in the world's third largest economy within two decades, despite protests from industry and utilities.

The CDU and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, want to reverse the phase-out.

But they temporarily shelved those plans after a narrow election victory in 2005 forced them into a "grand coalition" with the SPD.

The SPD and Greens hoped Germany would lead the industrial world into a "post-nuclear age" but instead most of the country's trading partners have embraced the use of nuclear power as part of a climate-friendly energy mix. France, for example, gets 80 percent of its power from nuclear.

In their election manifestos, the SPD says it wants 50 percent of Germany's power to come from renewables by 2030 and the Greens are targeting 40 percent from renewables by 2020.

While the CDU and FDP also support renewables, they have less ambitious goals and say it would be irresponsible to phase out nuclear energy before it is clear that other sources can make up the deficit.

Rolf Martin Schmitz, a board member at German utility RWE (RWEG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), said independent studies showed keeping Germany's nuclear plants running for another 25 years would add hundreds of billions of euros to the economy.

"Ideological convictions aside, I can see a lot in favour of the idea, which would be in line with worldwide practice, he said at an energy event in Cologne on Thursday.

Nils Diederich, a political scientist at Berlin's Free University, expects the nuclear question to become a hot topic if Merkel's conservatives are able to form their centre-right coalition of choice with the FDP.

"If the CDU/CSU and FDP do actually win power and push through an extension of nuclear power we'll see a real battle," he said. "Then there will be massive demonstrations.""

(Reuters, Writing by Erik Kirschbaum with additional reporting by Vera Eckert; editing by Noah Barkin and Michael Roddy, distributed by no-nukes)

Berlin, 16.07.2007

Nuclear supervisory bodies at Federal and Laender level ready for international inspection (Press Statements)

The Federal Government has invited the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out an inspection of the nuclear supervisory bodies at Federal and Laender level in Germany in mid 2008. A team of approximately twelve experienced international administrative experts will be visiting Germany for about two weeks and will examine how administrative supervision of the safety of nuclear power plants is carried out at the Federal Environment Ministry and the Environment Ministry of Baden-Wuerttemberg. (BMU, No. 200/07)

Nuclear Phase-out in Germany

The resistance against nuclear power in Germany has a history of more than 20 years and is as active today as it was in the last years.

1998: Phase-out part of coalition's program

Since 1998, when Germany was ruled by a coalition of Social-democrats and Greens, a nuclear phase-out is part of the coalition's program - but is far from realisation. Phasing out the countryies 19 nuclear power reactors is expected to be a long term process and requires an agreement with the nuclear industry and the utilities which own the plants. The new Minister of Environment (Trittin, Green Party) nominated more critical experts for the Radiation Protection and Reactor Safety Commission, institutions which used to be pro nuclear. Austria hopes the new German government will support its efforts for a nuclear phaseout in central Europe. Germany's nuclear industry fears the new government and threats with liability processes if the government
demands the premature shutdown of NPPs.

2000: Agreement to phase-out nuclear power

In June 2000, the German government and four electricity utilities have finally agreed to phase-out nuclear power in Germany, following 20 months of stormy negotiations. The agreement must still be ratified by the governing SPD and Green coalition and by shareholders of six firms that own nuclear power stations.

Clearly the nuclear industry is the winner of the negotiations: No NPP is required to shut down before the general elections in 2002, there is no date set for closing the last station, and stations will operate for longer than wanted by the Greens. According to the German Atomic Forum this means each station will be able to operate at full power for an average of 32 years, or about 10 years less than they would without the phase-out. Because power stations don't always operate at full power, their average complete lifetimes will therefore be very nearly 35 years.

Other elements of the deal are that the government commits not to introduce further economic or taxation measures that would hurt the industry, nor to further strengthen safety standards. The mothballed Muehlheim Kaerlich power station will have lifetime production rights of 107.25 TWh, which operator RWE will be able to transfer to other stations.

Transports of spent fuel for reprocessing are to be allowed to restart, but will end after five years, when current contracts with reprocessing firms in the UK and France expire. Two existing final nuclear waste disposal projects at Konrad and Gorleben will be maintained, though the controversial Gorleben site will be put on ice for 3-10 years.
A new atomic law will be drafted to formalise the deal, including a ban on construction of new nuclear power stations.

2001: Law about phase-out

In Dezember 2001 the German Bundestag decides the novella to put an end to the atomic energy use. The law limits the run times of the atomic power plants on the average of another 11 years.

The draft law provides legislative backing for the agreement, under which reactors can each operate for up to 32 years and generate a set amount of electricity. Output quotas can be transferred from older to newer plant but not vice versa. Germany's last station is expected to shut by around 2021.

Also included is a ban on new nuclear power stations and prohibition from 1. 7. 2005 of spent fuel reprocessing and of any associated transport of nuclear materials. The operators are also obligated to store the radioactive waste temporarily at the nuclear power plant to reduce transports. Power stations are to be subject to more stringent safety checks.

July 2002: GHG-reduction possible without NPPs

In July of 2002 the Bundestag Enquetekomission Sustainable Power Supply in its final report comes to the conclusion that despite the phase-out of nuclear power a reduction of greenhouse gases of around 80 per cent compared with 1990 would be feasible until 2050. The final report represents the possibilities for an environmental sound and sustainable power supply.

Radwaste storage and transportation

Protests against transports from/to France

Every transport of spent fuel to interim storages or to France for reprocessing as well as transports of radwaste from La Hague back to Germany initiates demonstrations of all the NGO's opposing nuclear power in Germany - as well as activists protesting against the construction of more interim storages for spent fuel at the German reactor sites.

In February 2001 France threatened to refuse any more spent fuel for reprocessing unless Germany agreed to more HLW (high-level waste) transports.

Interim storage and exploration of final repository

In September 2001 the "Arbeitskreis Auswahlverfahren Endlagerstandorte", an expert committee for developing criteria for locating a permanent underground disposal site for all types of radioactive waste issued its second status report.

Until December of 2003 the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) has passed licenses for interim storage facilities at the sites of the German NPPs. Now all NPPs have the possibility to store spent fuel up to 40 years. The government wants a final repository to be explored and built until 2030.

2001: Danger by airliners?

In accordance with the Commission of Reactor Safety (RSK) there are no investigation results concerning a direct attack of terror against nuclear power plants with a big airliner. In October 2001, the commission says, that further investigation has to clarify if the protection level of the plants can be improved through technical and structurally measures. A new built working group will concentrate on these questions. The newer German nuclear power plants ensure sufficiently protection against the effects of a crash of a high speed military jet (impact speed 774 km/h).

Sites With Nuclear Facilities

siteplantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
AhausAhausspent fuel storage
BiblisBiblis-APWR 1200197019742011
Biblis-BPWR 1300197219762011
BrokdorfBrokdorfPWR 130019761986
BrunsbuettelBrunsbuettelBWR 770197019762011
EmslandEmslandPWR 130019821988
GarchingGarching FRM-2Research
GorlebenGorlebenInterim Storage for Spent Fuel
Gorleben Final RepositoryFinal Repository
Gorleben LILW StorageStorage for LILW1984
Gorleben Waste ConditioningPilot Waste Conditioning Plant2000
GrafenrheinfeldGrafenrheinfeldPWR 130019751981
GreifswaldGreifswald ZLNinterim Storage
Greifswald-1WWER 440197019731990
Greifswald-2WWER 440197019741990
Greifswald-3WWER 440197319781990
Greifswald-4WWER 440197319791990
Greifswald-5WWER 440197619891990
GrohndeGrohndePWR 130019761984
GundremmingenGundremmingen-ABWR 240196219661980
Gundremmingen-BBWR 124019761984
Gundremmingen-CBWR 124019761984
Hamm-UentropTHTR-300HTGR 300197119851990
HanauHanaufuel fabrication
IsarIsar-1BWR 870197219772011
Isar-2PWR 130019821988
Kahl
KalkarKalkarFBR
KarlsruheKNK
MZFRMultipurpose Research Reactor
KruemmelGKSSResearch Facility1956
KruemmelBWR 1260197419832011
LingenLingenBWR 250196419681979
MorslebenMorslebenrepository
Muelheim-KaerlichMuehlheim-KaerlichPWR 1300197519861988
NeckarwestheimNeckar-1PWR 800197219762011
Neckar-2PWR 130019821989
NiederaichbachNiederaichbachHWGCR 100196619731974
ObrigheimObrigheimPWR 340196519682005
PhilippsburgPhilippsburg-1BWR 900197019792011
Philippsburg-2PWR 130019771984
RheinsbergRheinsbergPWR 60196019661990
Schacht KonradKonradLLW repository
StadeStadePWR 640196719722003
UnterweserUnterweserPWR 1300197219782011
WismutWismuturanium mine
WuergassenWuergassenBWR 640196819711995