German Green party politician and former MEP Rebecca Harms is surprised that the attitude towards nuclear energy has not changed at all in the Czech Republic after the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents, she said this in a recent interview with Euractiv. According to her, this is a “miracle”, because Germany, Poland, and the Baltic States are all concerned about nuclear energy, which is in general declines in democratic countries.
As far as nuclear energy is concerned, the Czechia is no exceptional case nor does it hold an extreme position in Europe. A positive attitude towards nuclear energy persists in other European democracies. France, for example, decided to produce most of its energy from nuclear power after the oil crisis in the 1970s, and it is still the case today.
On the contrary, it is quite surprising that former MEP Harms is not shocked by Ukraine and Japan, where the two largest nuclear accidents happened. Although both countries, unlike Germany, have had a painful experience, neither of them has completely abandoned nuclear energy. Moreover, in Ukraine, nuclear power plants even supply about half of all energy produced.
When Harms’ compared the costs associated with the production of one gigawatt in a nuclear power plant versus the case of renewable sources, the core of her argument fails. She is not right here either, because the numbers are not so clear in the overall cost comparison.
The costs of electricity produced by the two types of sources are at least comparable in some measures.
Nuclear physicist Vladimír Wagner pointed out that the benefits of building different types of power plants depend on the geographical and other conditions in the country they are built, as well as on the composition of the energy mix.
According to him, the indisputable advantage of the nuclear over solar or wind energy is its independence of the weather and operation’s overall stability. However, the Greens are unable to take this into account due to their phobia of everything connected with the nuclear energy.
The consequences of blinded rejection of the nuclear power are manifested in Germany. In addition to abandoning nuclear energy, Germany has set a very ambitious goal of closing all coal-fired power plants by 2038. As renewables cannot fully compensate for the loss of energy production from closed nuclear power plants, Germany will have to rely on coal electricity for at least some time.
Otherwise, the Datteln 4 coal-fired power plant would not open at the end of May. Closing nuclear power plants and still keeping coal-fired ones in operation, or even opening new ones, is certainly not one of the greenest solutions.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the commissioning of the power plant was accompanied by protests by activists from Fridays for Future and other environmental organizations.
Harms does not approve of the Czech position on nuclear energy, but the opening of a new coal-fired power plant in Germany was not worth a single mention in the interview. This is despite the fact that this type of power plant is more “dirty” in terms of CO2 emissions than nuclear power plants, which save 700 million tonnes of CO2 per year across the EU.
In Germany, the construction of new wind farms is being blocked by green activists
Last year, wind farms supplied just over a fifth of the energy produced in Germany, which represents half of the 40 percent of the energy that was produced from all renewable sources. In such a situation, none of the other renewable sources of reliant on sun, water, or biomass come close to wind energy’s significance.
Still, the construction of new wind farms last year stalled after it was protested, mainly by environmental activists. According to one study, 60 percent of all lawsuits have even been filed by environmentalists, and it is not as paradoxical as it might seem.
Wind energy production has undeniable negative impacts on the environment. As Karin Heintzová from the Brandenburg Forest Administration said in an interview for Czech Radio, about one hectare of forest disappears due to each wind farm. Many German environmental activists also perceive wind farms as a threat to birds and flying mammals.
German wind energy production is the source of another problem that Czechia is also experiencing. As it is an unstable weather-dependent source of power, electricity produced in Germany’s wind farms also places a disproportionate burden on the Czech transmission system in the autumn months.
Harms did not bother to mention that even renewables posed several environmental problems. When it comes to nuclear energy, the alleged economic cost is suddenly a more important argument than how clean the energy source is and how much carbon it emits — a really strange line of thinking from a politician who considers herself ecologically-minded.
Do green politicians even know what they really want? Do they want to fight climate change and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other substances, or is it more important for them to constantly protest against nuclear energy? Based on their statements, it looks more like the second option.
Before the German Greens start criticizing anyone for their attitude towards the nuclear energy, they should simply get their attitudes straight. Right now, their anti-nuclear hysteria lacks any logic.