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    Translation: Lifetime extension: Nuclear power plant continued operation not eligible for approval – BUND presents current study on the safety status of the current nuclear power plants


    July 28, 2022 - ForeignAffairs.co.nz

     

      MIL OSI translation. Region: Germany/Germany

      Source: Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine poses major challenges for Germany in terms of energy supply. The debate about gas bottlenecks and cold apartments has turned into a scenario about an imminent power bottleneck, as a result of which the continued operation of the remaining nuclear power plants (NPP) is being debated. The security policy facts are a neglected side note for the proponents. A current safety study commissioned by the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) shows that continued operation cannot be approved due to unresolved safety issues. The environmental association rejects the continued operation and thus an extension of the service life of the Emsland, Neckarwestheim 2 and Isar 2 nuclear power plants beyond December 31, 2022.” The demands for the continued operation of the German nuclear power plants are populist. Energy from nuclear power is unsafe, unprofitable and unnecessary,” explains Olaf Bandt, BUND Chairman. “Anyone who, in view of the impending gas bottlenecks, claims that a warm winter can only be made possible with nuclear power is leading a bogus debate and calculating the performance of the nuclear power plants. Both the opposition and the governing parties are recklessly putting the societal contract to phase out nuclear power, which was supported by a broad consensus eleven years ago, up for discussion. In doing so, they also risk the reliability and viability of long-term political decisions in this country. Some Green politicians are questioning the founding consensus of the Greens by opening up to extended nuclear lifespans.” The actual facts have not changed since the decision to phase out nuclear power in 2011. Bandt continues: “Nuclear power is an unpredictable, high-risk technology. With a share of about one percent of final energy consumption, it does not play a significant role for the energy supply in the short or medium term. The existing safety risks in the continued operation of the three nuclear power plants, which even the operators no longer want to bear, are being criminally disregarded in the political debate.” From the BUND’s point of view, the safety risks and the costs of maintaining the low nuclear power plant capacities are disproportionate. A renewed stress test does not change that. Germany decided to phase out nuclear energy in 2011 due to the unpredictable security risks. Today’s nuclear power plants are eleven years older and have all far exceeded an operating life of 30 years. Oda Becker, qualified physicist and expert on the risks of nuclear plants, explains with reference to a current safety study prepared for the BUND: “The Emsland, Neckarwestheim 2 and Isar 2 nuclear power plants have not been extensively checked for safety for 13 years. The last periodic safety check, which takes place at least every 10 years, took place in 2009 and was based on safety requirements from the 1980s. From a technical point of view, it is inconceivable that the nuclear supervisory authority would approve lifetime extensions on this basis without comprehensive safety reviews. Because a safe operation of the reactors according to the current state of science and technology is not guaranteed. With a view to the Emsland and Neckarwestheim 2 nuclear power plants, Becker adds: “The systems have been in operation for more than 10 years with regard to the agreed remaining service life, which is evident, for example, from the handling of the dangerous cracks in the steam generators in the Neckarwestheim 2 nuclear power plant. ”The continued operation of the nuclear power plants would not only not be expedient due to the long-term and currently unavailable fuel elements, but also due to the massive safety risks. “Even the operators are realizing that continued operation for a short time would only be possible if the requirement for safety tests was massively reduced or extensive retrofitting was not carried out. The current situation in France also proves that the desired security of supply with nuclear power plants is not guaranteed,” the security expert continues. In the current dispute, the fact that fossil fuels were used for decades and the expansion of renewable energies was neglected or prevented is now taking its revenge. Angela Wolff, BUND expert on nuclear and energy policy, explains: “This debate is the last desperate attempt by the CDU and CSU to keep nuclear energy alive in Germany. The Union parties have massively blocked the energy transition for years and pushed Germany further into fossil dependence with their reactionary energy policy. And even now, in the crisis, the two parties can think of nothing better than going backwards in energy policy. The nuclear power plants can neither solve the gas crisis, nor do they play a significant role in the electricity supply, with a total share of just five percent in the electricity mix year the reactor fleet is idle. There the whole energy policy dilemma of the use of nuclear power becomes apparent. “Nuclear power offers neither security of supply nor does it create energy independence from Russia,” the BUND expert continued. “Rather, the nationalized Russian nuclear industry has Europe and the USA, as suppliers of uranium and nuclear technology, so firmly in its grip that they have so far not been able to afford to impose sanctions against the aggressor in the nuclear sector.” BUND calls for a consistent and environmentally friendly expansion of the Renewable and fast as well as sensible energy saving measures. Bandt: “It would be fatal if the federal government continued to be driven by a populist debate in this serious crisis and thus not only missed important measures, but also jeopardized Germany’s energy policy future. Security, peace and a reliable supply of energy can only be achieved with a step forward. To do this, we must move away from nuclear power and fossil fuels as quickly as possible. The nuclear waste problem is still unresolved. The ongoing search for a permanent repository for millennia-old hazardous high-level radioactive waste is being jeopardized by this pointless lifetime extension debate. The BUND will not passively accept an extension of the nuclear power plant runtimes and will examine legal action.”More information:For an overview

      MIL OSI

      EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

      MIL Translation OSI

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