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The nuclear energy renaissance in the USA – a role model for Germany?

The nuclear energy renaissance in the USA – a role model for Germany?

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The United States wants to reactivate the nuclear power plant that was shut down. Among other things, this should ensure huge CO2 savings. Could this also work in Germany?

MICHIGAN — While former President Obama laid the groundwork for more support for nuclear energy years ago, Germany is saying goodbye to its nuclear power plants. Other European countries celebrate this day Nuclear renaissance. What does this mean for the Federal Republic?

The USA relies on nuclear energy – and is revitalizing a decommissioned power plant

In a pioneering operation, the United States of America is restarting a previously closed nuclear power plant. Specifically, it is the “Palisades” power station in the US state of Michigan, located on Lake Michigan. as world It was reported that the Ministry of Energy granted the energy company Holtec a loan worth 1.52 billion US dollars to reactivate “Palisades”, the name of the power station scheduled to be reactivated.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) speaks at the Democratic Conference of the Social Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party of Europe (SPE) (avatar). The United States wants to reactivate the nuclear power plant that was shut down. Among other things, this should ensure huge CO2 savings. For Schulz, nuclear power is a “dead horse.” © Christoph Soeder/DPA

In addition to $1.5 billion from the Department of Energy, Michigan is also issuing a $150 million grant. Michigan has many advantages from this. First, Palisades is expected to pay millions in taxes; During its operation, the power plant reportedly paid $10 million annually in property taxes. Second, nuclear energy is considered one of the most climate-friendly forms of energy in the United States.

Nuclear energy as a sustainable form of energy

And it has been for years. In 2015, US President Barack Obama established a climate action plan to use all appropriate tools to combat climate change. Nuclear power, which generated about 60% of the United States' carbon dioxide-free electricity in 2014, played an important role. “As America leads the global transition to a low-carbon economy, the continued development of new and advanced nuclear technologies, along with support for currently operating nuclear power plants, is an important part of our clean energy strategy,” the White House said in its speech. the time.

By investing in the safe development of nuclear energy, which was the plan at the time, Obama wanted to advance other “important policy goals” in the national interest. He wanted to create jobs, ensure economic competitiveness, and improve nuclear safety. For fiscal year 2016, the White House allocated more than $900 million to go to the Department of Energy to support the civilian nuclear energy sector.

The continued operation of the Palisades power plant is expected to make the power grid more stable. The group also declares that the power plant conversion would “significantly improve” the region’s CO2-free energy production and grid reliability. In total, the project is expected to avoid 4.47 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Nuclear energy in Germany

Other industrialized countries are also seeking salvation in nuclear energy. For example, Japan announced just a few days ago that it would restart a nuclear power plant that had already been shut down. This is Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, the country's largest nuclear power plant. France and other European countries have also taken similar steps. At the nuclear summit, these countries decided that nuclear energy should remain an “integral part” of the European electricity mix in the long term.

On the other hand, the phase-out of nuclear weapons in Germany has been planned for a long time. Reactivation is possible only with difficulty – some power plants are already inoperable due to acid washing, regardless of the cost. Recently, heated discussions arose due to the Ministry's employees of the Federal Minister of Economy Robert Habeck The Greens allegedly concealed important information about the phase-out of nuclear weapons. Report from CiceroThe magazine provoked a real wave of reactions.

Could the reactivation of the Barrier and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa projects reignite the German debate on returning to nuclear power? For the advisor Olaf Schulz (SPD), nuclear energy is a “dead horse”.