June 1st, 2011 at 03:52pm
Germany’s Angela Merkel, normally a reasonable and clever woman, disappointed me the other day by doing something downright stupid. She’s getting rid of nuclear power, not for the usual strange reasons trotted out by the Greens, but because of an earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The Fukushima situation, while concerning, was nowhere near as bad as much of the media breathlessly reported (nice long list of the many many many exaggerations and mistakes or Andrew Bolt has a decent quick summary), and to be clear, it is to be expected that any type of electrical machinery will have problems if you expose it to a massive earthquake and then a tidal wave. It’s just the way it works…
And let me ask you this: how many times did you hear the media report on the fact that a large number of the refugees who fled the quake and tsunami zones were being housed temporarily in other nuclear power plants? Not as many times as you heard the lie of “Japanese radiation disaster”, I’ll bet.
So Germany, a country with no history of bad earthquakes, and virtually landlocked, with a relatively sheltered bit of coastline, so highly unlikely to be hit by a tsunami, makes a knee-jerk reaction to a problem which will never happen in Germany, effectively crippling Germany’s position as a world leader in the move away from coal. Instead, Germany wants to move to so-called “sustainable energy”…great, except that you can’t get baseload power from the so-called renewables. It’s either coal or nuclear.
Well, fine, at least our coal industry will have a country which wants to buy more and more coal.
Then again, perhaps this is a clever move. Nuclear power won’t be phased out for another 12 years in Germany. Watch this space, they’ve already turned off some of the (obviously superfluous to requirements) older nuclear plants, so give them a year or two and I expect the see Angela Merkel come out and say “you know what, we investigated it, and this renewable stuff costs much more and can’t provide what we need, so the nuclear power stays”. She will have successfully headed off an uneducated panic this year from her public, and have kept her country’s position as a world leader in the long run.
As I say, watch this space.