Ukrajinska vojna in kriza z ruskim plinom je dobra vsaj za nekaj – za spremembo javnega mnenja v Nemčiji, ki se v strahu pred zimskim mrazom in temo obrača v prid nadaljevanju obratovanja še preostalih treh jedrskih elektrarn, reaktivaciji že zaprtih ter gradnji novih. Po anketi Der Spiegla je 78% vprašanih izrazilo podporo nadaljevanju obratovanja treh še aktivnih nukleark do poletja 2023, 67% pa za nadaljnjih 5 let. 41% vprašanih bi podprlo gradnji novih nukleark (pred 33 leti so na isto vprašanje pozitivno odgovorili samo 3% vprašanih)
Nemško javno se torej po treh in pol desetletjih boja proti nuklearkam v temelju obrača. No, problem tega javnega mnenja je, da je izjemno slabo informirano. Da reagira čustveno in ne racionalno. Da verjame propagandi, ne pa dejstvom. In da velika večina nima pojma o vzdržnosti nemškega elektroenergetskega sistema. Večina vprašanih je pripravljena požreti “jedrski cmok” zgolj začasno, da se prebije skozi letošnjo zimo. Niti sanja se ji ne, da elektroenergetski sistem (EES), ki temelji zgolj na obnovljivih virih (sonce, veter, biomasa), tehnično ne more delovati. EES ob obnovljivih virih sonca in vetra potrebuje stabilne fleksibilne (in stalne) vire, ki zagotavljajo (1) manjkajočo energijo, ko sonce ne sije in ko ni vetra, in (2) za regulacijo EES. Nemški “Energiewende”, temelječ 100% zgolj na obnovljivih virih (sonce, veter, biomasa), tehnično ni možen, vedno bodo potrebne še termoelektrarne na plin (ki so umazane) in zraven še jedrske elektrarne (ki so glede izpustov CO2 bolj zelene od sončne energije), sicer se nemški EES sesuje v roku enega samega dneva.
Prodajati volilcem zgodbo o Energiewende, kjer obnovljivi viri vetra in sonce zagotavljajo zgolj nekaj piškavih procentov skupne porabe primarne energije, zapirati stabilne nuklearke, vso manjkajočo energijo ter regulacijo sistema pa zagotavljati iz ruskega plina ter trditi, da bo do leta 2050 (ali kadarkoli sploh) mogoče shajati povsem brez plina, premoga ali nukleark, je čista laž in skrajno neodgovorno. Ni prav nobenega znanstveno podprtega dokaza, da je to možno. Nihče tega še ni dokazal, ne v teoriji in ne v praksi. Čudi le to, da 83 milijonov Nemcem že tri desetletja kot nacija ovc absolutno verjame politični pravljici, da je to možno. Kako da ni nikogar, ki bi glasno povedal, da gre zgolj za pravljico?!
Spodaj je nekaj pasusov iz Der Spiegla, ki kažejo, kako zmedena je nemška politika in posledično javno mnenje.
Officially, German is supposed to be transitioning to green energies, but these polling figures suggest that people may be interested in returning to the old energy status quo.
But how is that even possible? It had already become clear in recent years that support for the nuclear phaseout was already slowly crumbling. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has now accelerated this shift, calling into question many old certainties, or overturning them completely. Formerly staunch pacifists now support weapons deliveries. A Green Party economics minister is going on a gas-shopping spree to Qatar. The energy security that people took for granted for decades in Germany has been shaken ever since Russia cut gas deliveries and costs rose.
The result being that an old German dogma now seems to be crumbling: the rejection of nuclear energy. Concerns are either being put on the backburner or are evaporating. Radiation from nuclear waste? Safety risks? Danger of large-scale disasters? Who cares. Those are things you worry about when you have working heat. Electricity first, then ethics.
How should politicians respond to the resurrection of an issue that had long been consigned to the dustbin of history?
They become ideologically flexible. Driven by the fear of angry voters unsure about their energy supply, more and more decision-makers are showing themselves to be willing to make concessions. Even Chancellor Olaf Scholz said a few days ago that an extension of the lifespan of nuclear plants could “make sense” when he visited a Gazprom turbine intended for the Nord Stream I gas pipeline from Russia for a bizarre photo op and press event. Even Winfried Kretschmann, Germany’s only Green state governor, a man who once wore a “no thanks” to nuclear power button on his lapel at demonstrations, can also imagine a “possible time-limited extension.” The heads of the CDU and the CSU, Friedrich Merz and Markus Söder, were just photographed together in a joint visit to the Isar 2 power plant, which they would like to see continue operating until 2024.
In political circles in Berlin, the nuclear debate is causing intrigue and increasing nervousness. Just a few weeks ago, Green Economics Minister Robert Habeck had a fairly relaxed approach to the nuclear question. But the mood in society has shifted, and this hasn’t escaped the Greens.
The speed of the change is making some Greens dizzy – and they are already worried that their own people might change their minds. A majority in favor of a limited extension of the operating span of nuclear power plants, both among the party’s base and the public more broadly, would have to be taken seriously.
For weeks, the FDP, in particular, has been pushing for extending the plants’ operations. FDP leader and Finance Minister Christian Lindner and FDP Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai have been poking at their Green Party government coalition partner. Most recently, Lindner proposed allowing the three remaining German nuclear power plants to keep operating until 2024 “if necessary.” For Lindner, the strategist, it’s not only a question of providing a steady energy supply for Germans, but also about keeping his own party’s ratings stable in the polls.
“The FDP must be the voice of reason in the coalition,” says Djir-Sarai, who seems to consider nuclear power and reason as congruent. After all, Lindner and his allies are not calling for a broad renaissance of nuclear power or an about-face on the exit from nuclear power in the long term – a position which they know would spell the end of their governing coalition with the Social Democrats and the Greens.
Stretching operations could be the compromise approach – but how long can things be stretched before it gets painful? A few months, so the Greens can get away with it? Or two years, as Christian Lindner is demanding?
Leading Greens unanimously reject an extension that would require the acquisition of new fuel rods, saying that this would be a red line they are unwilling to cross. But, says Djir-Sarai, “Stretching the operations doesn’t solve any problem, that’s just window dressing.”
Many are irritated by the renewed debate about nuclear power, claiming that it’s all absurd, a shifting of the discourse away from the real problems. “A lot of time is being wasted here that we don’t have in the climate crisis,” says Marschall. These days, Fridays for Future is focused on resisting the new fossil fuel infrastructure being created in the form of liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals off the German coasts, and the new gas fields being developed in countries like Senegal to keep Germans warm. They are worried about Germany potentially missing its climate targets in the coming years and tend to view the debate about nuclear power from the sidelines.
If Berlin does decide to keep the nuclear power plants online, a second question will arise that is likely to hit the Greens especially hard: From the technical perspective, it would be hard to argue against putting the three power plants shut down in 2021 back online.
Although some power lines have been cut at Brokdorf, Grohnde and Gundremmingen C, the actual dismantling process hasn’t properly begun. The spent fuel elements need to stay in the plants’ decay pools for at least five years to lose enough radioactivity and heat radiation. Even a decommissioned power plant needs to remain largely intact during this period to ensure key functions, like cooling. Stoll believes that each of these old nuclear power plants could be refurbished within six months.
The pressure to keep or reopen German nuclear plants isn’t just coming from within Germany, but also increasingly from Europe, the European Union partners with whom Germany will have to jointly overcome the energy and Ukraine crises.
Many EU member states have not forgotten that the German government pushed through the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in the face of fierce opposition. It’s not only the Eastern Europeans who are irritated that Berlin is now calling for solidarity from all EU member states even as it refuses to compromise on nuclear energy.
Unlike in previous crises, Germany is now dependent on the support of its partners. Germany consumes more gas than any other EU country, and much of it comes from Russia. In Brussels last week, Slovakian Economics Minister Richard Sulík said that if Germany wants to save gas, it should “first keep three of its nuclear power plants running.”
Vir: Der Spiegel