Germany Continues Denuclearization

Germany continued its march towards cleaner and safer energy by further dismantling the Philippsburg nuclear plant in its South-western region.

Crux of the Matter

Further Demolition
On Wednesday 13 May 2020, Germany demolished 2 cooling towers of the Philippsburg Nuclear Plant, lying in its South-western region.

The plant contained 2 reactors, which were shut in 2011 and 2019 respectively. On Wednesday, further progress occurred in the coolant towers’ dismantling.

Germany’s Link with Nuclear Energy

  • Germany set up the first nuclear plant in 1962, in Kahl.
  • Phasing-out process started after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
  • In 2009, the policy was modified to delay the phase-out.
  • In 2011, the original policy was reinstated after the world witnessed the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Germany shut 8 reactors immediately.
  • As per the current policy, the last reactor would be shut down by 2022.

In Modern times,

  • Germany got ~25% of total electricity from 17 nuclear plants in 2011.
  • The percentage dropped to 12%, coming from 7 reactors in 2019.

Reactions To The Move
Critics of Nuclear energy have welcomed the step. They have marked it as saving the citizens from radiation while also eliminating any possibility of nuclear disasters like Chernobyl or Fukushima. However, some critics have pointed that dependency on coal for power would increase, which would increase health-related problems caused by pollution due to coal burning.

  • A nuclear power phase-out is the discontinuation of usage of nuclear power for energy production. Three nuclear accidents have influenced the discontinuation of nuclear power: the 1979 Three Mile Island partial nuclear meltdown in the United States, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the USSR, and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Following Fukushima, Germany has permanently shut down 8 of its 17 reactors and pledged to close the rest by 2022.
  • The Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament (ENCD) is an UN-sponsored organization established in 1961. The ENCD considered disarmament, confidence-building measures, and nuclear test controls. Between 1965 and 1968, the ENCD negotiated the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
  • Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Peace Action, and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service are some of the major anti-nuclear groups. The formation of green parties (political parties based on the principles of social justice, environmentalism, and nonviolence.) in the 1970s and 1980s was often a direct result of anti-nuclear politics.