The problem of nuclear waste
Another important argument against nuclear power is the problem of disposal. Anyone who splits nuclei to generate energy produces radioactive waste. The isotope uranium-235, which is used primarily in today’s nuclear power plants, has a half-life of 703.8 million years.
There is no repository for nuclear waste in Germany, and finding a location is difficult because you need a place deep in the earth that is safe from climatic influences, environmental disasters and human influences for a million years.
More nuclear energy = more nuclear waste?
The nuclear waste problem is far from being solved in Germany. Would the continued operation of German nuclear power plants only make this problem worse? Professor Clemens Walther, Director of the Institute for Radioecology and Radiation Protection at the University of Hannover, calculates: “If we continue to operate all three nuclear power plants, and I would say generously for 3 years, then the amount of nuclear waste would increase by a few percent. single digit”. Storing three percent more nuclear waste would not affect the requirements for a repository.
Although this doesn’t solve the fundamental problem with final storage, continuous operation simply wouldn’t make it too much worse. Nuclear waste remains the main problem in Germany, unlike Finland.
Finland: Repository, modern reactors and still green
The motto in Finland is: Anyone who wants to fight climate change must also rely on the use of low-CO2 nuclear energy. At the end of this year, a new reactor, considered the most modern in Europe, will come into operation in Finland.
Olkiluoto 3 is described by operators and manufacturers as “inherently safe”. A “core catcher” is intended to prevent the reactor core from burning out, as happened at Fukushima. Finland’s Social Democratic Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, is pursuing three goals with her nuclear policy: lowering electricity prices, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and reducing dependence on Russia.
The nuclear waste argument counts for little in Finland, because the world’s first repository is located there. When it comes to the question of the risks of a supermelt like Chernobyl or Fukushima, you have to weigh the fact that climate change would be far worse than a nuclear catastrophe, according to the debate in Finland. It is a different discussion than in Germany. In Finland there is no problem in saying: I am green and I am in favor of nuclear energy.
The federal government’s strict “no” to nuclear power is crumbling
The discussion has long since reached politics. The Union has criticized from the opposition that the federal government would prefer to generate more coal than continue using nuclear energy. The FDP came out in favor of opening up to technology without blinders anyway, and the SPD and the Greens also appear to be reconsidering.
“We will do the calculations again and then decide based on clear facts.” A spokeswoman for Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) said recently.
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