Creation of Stimmen der Kernenergie : fight lies on nuclear energy in Germany
Steinbach (Taunus) – 15/11/2022 – German citizens founded “Stimmen der Kernenergie”, a pro-nuclear organisation promoting nuclear as a low carbon energy fundamental to tackle climate change. This creation happens at a crucial point, as Germany is about to close its last 3 nuclear power plants. A mobilisation will take place on November 19th in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.
Why did we create Stimmen der Kernenergie ?
We recognise that the advocacy for nuclear power in Germany is extremely difficult, as many people wrongly perceive it as a threat to them and their families’ health. It shall be stressed however that in fact nuclear energy saves lives – and is much better in delivering on climate objectives – namely by preventing the recourse to coal and natural gas both in Germany and worldwide.
The nuclear accidents, notably Chernobyl and Fukushima-Daiichi, have been carefully studied and assessed by the United Nations’ agency UNSCEAR. The Chernobyl accident resulted in 130 deaths due to the radioactivity. The 2011 Fukushima accident does not hold a death record nor has it resulted in the increased number of cancers.
At the same time, up to 7 million people in the world die every year due to the air pollution resulting from burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels kill every day. Nuclear does not. We want this message to be heard. That is why we founded “Stimmen der Kernenergie”.
Furthermore, we believe the energy mix composed of nuclear and renewables to be the only way to phase out fossil fuels, while ensuring the continuous economic growth.
As an organisation we advocate for the use of nuclear power in Germany, as a way to curb CO2 emissions, protect the environment and provide clean, reliable electricity for Germany.
“We demand to keep the existing three nuclear plants open, and to re-open the ones closed down on 31 December 2021. All of that is of great importance for Germany to meet its climate goals and a matter of solidarity toward the citizens of Germany, Europe and the world”explains Levin Schüren, member of Stimmen der Kernenergie.
Myrto Tripathi, founder and leader of the Voices of Nuclear, adds: “German energy policy is becoming less and less compatible with that of other EU members. De facto, Germany is forcing its neighbours to bear the heavy environmental, climate and geopolitical costs of its destructive energy transition. But ideologies can be overcome, and that’s what we started doing today in Germany. And we will continue to do so in the future, together, across all borders”.
Event on 19 November 2022
An alliance of pro-nuclear power activists, among them Stimmen der Kernenergie, will gather on Saturday, November 19, 2022, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Under the slogan “Nuclear power instead of crisis”, at the Platz des 18. März, there will be performances, speeches and music – all to demand the continuous use of nuclear energy. See more on this website.
We will be pleased to welcome you to this event to explain in depth the reasons behind our involvement.
In the future, Stimmen der Kernenergie will educate the German public about the advantages and disadvantages of different energy sources and seek out to debate with all parties interested in genuine dialog, especially with organisations and individuals, which traditionally oppose the civil use of nuclear power.
Indeed other ecological considerations such as land use, material use as well as criteria such as scalability, security of supply and cost shall be taken into account for energy policies. We believe this would put an end to the unwarranted treatment and perception of nuclear energy, as it performs favourably over all other sources of electricity in all of the abovementioned areas.
Stimmen der Kernenergie are supported by Voices of Nuclear, a French organisation promoting nuclear power in France, as the same objectives are shared by both organisations.
Stimmen der Kernenergie, a non-governmental organisation advocating the peaceful use of nuclear energy as a low-carbon energy source in the fight against climate change, announces its creation as the German equivalent of “Voices of Nuclear”. This comes at a critical time as Germany is about to close its last three nuclear power plants.
Why we founded Stimmen der Kernenergie?
As an organisation, we advocate for the use of nuclear power in Germany to reduce carbon emissions, protect nature and provide clean, reliable electricity. “We call for the last three nuclear power plants to continue to be used indefinitely and for the ones that were closed on December 31, 2021 to be restarted, also indefinitely. This is not only important for Germany to meet its climate targets, but also a matter of solidarity towards German citizens, Europe and the world, as we elaborate below,” explains Levin, representative of Stimmen der Kernenergie.
We recognise that the advocacy for nuclear power in Germany is extremely difficult, as many people wrongly perceive it as a threat to them and their families’ health. It shall be stressed however that in fact nuclear energy saves lives – and is much better in delivering on climate objectives – namely by preventing the recourse to coal and natural gas both in Germany and worldwide. Moreover, nuclear power is the only way to replace fossil fuels without depriving the society of stable and abundant energy access.
In the future, Stimmen der Kernenergie will:
- educate the German public on the advantages and disadvantages of different energy sources;
- seek discussions with all stakeholders interested in serious dialogue, particularly those organisations and individuals traditionally opposed to the civilian use of nuclear power;
- call for energy sources not to be evaluated according to preconceived notions such as “renewable” or “green”, which are increasingly being misused as arbitrary marketing tools, but instead to use real ecological criteria based on science such as CO2 emissions, air pollution, land use and material requirements, as well as other non-ecological ones well-founded, but nevertheless important criteria such as costs, scalability and security of supply.
We believe this would end discrimination against nuclear power as it is superior to other energy sources in all of these respects.
Values and Goals of the organisation
We consider access to energy as one of the most fundamental benefits to life brought by development, and therefore share a vision of fair energy access for all humans.
We want to replace fossil fuels whilst keeping the benefits of energy access to the wellbeing of populations.
We see a plurality of opinions as a precious foundation of a lively democracy. Therefore we aim to seek out to debate with people and organisations that feel they may disagree with the elements of information and principles we put forward. We are convinced of the sincerity of their intentions. We are aware of the fact that we ourselves are fallible and are open to constructive criticism.
Call for transparency in decision making
We call for a more transparent decision-making approach from the German government.
It has recently been reported by “Die Welt” and “Cicero” that the decision to extend the lifetime of the existing nuclear plants was made under dubious circumstances. Instead of waiting for the results of the investigation, the decision was made beforehand. The minister ignored advice given by its own specialists, who urged him to extend the operation of all three nuclear power plants, and instead chose to extend only two of them without providing the basis for his decision. Further internal documents, which the ministry is legally obliged to make public, are still kept secret.
General Demands for the German energy strategy
We are calling for an energy transition based not on undefined notions of “renewable” or “green”, which are increasingly used as a marketing term arbitrarily applied, but rather one which is based on real ecological considerations such as carbon emissions, pollution, land use, and material use, per kWh or any other unit of service expected. We believe that doing so would end the discrimination against nuclear power, as it compares favourably to all other sources of electricity.
The “Energiewende” must be re-evaluated. As green house gas emissions are our biggest concern, we need to take a look at the evidence of what technologies help us best in phasing out fossil fuels. Unlike Germany today, the French electricity sector is largely carbon-neutral since the 1980s. Although wind and solar have made incredible progress over the last 30 years, still their main limit of not being dispatchable persists. That is why France was able to retire its fleet of mostly oil-fired electricity plants last century, whereas Germany did not retire much of its dispatchable power capacity, but instead doubled the entire electricity grid, without generating more electricity. This dynamic has led Germany to bring online new coal-fired power plants as late as 2020. An act only necessary because of the nuclear phaseout. To make matters worse, the average German pays almost 50% more compared to the average French to get electricity eight times more carbon-intensive.
The coal phase out is predicated on building new gas fired electricity plants at a rapid pace. The currently ruling coalition plans to add 23GW of gas capacity (about a quarter of all current dispatchable capacity) to the existing one before 2030, to balance the intermittency of renewables. Although gas plants could in theory be fueled by “green” hydrogen, we do not believe that this will be the case within the next decade, or, as likely, ever. The industry is still in its infancy. Using hydrogen made by electrolysis only brings back 36% of the energy required to make it in the first place. The import of such a massive volume of hydrogen is not scalable to the required scale. On top of that, such green hydrogen is also required to decarbonise the industry, which currently uses methane to make ammoniac, or to make steel.
Nuclear power would be useful in a number of different ways:
- it would eliminate the need for hydrogen as backup for the electricity grid as it is dispatchable;
- it can potentially provide process heat, which in a 100% renewables scenario can only be provided by green hydrogen;
- it can be used to produce hydrogen itself.
Immediate Demands for the 19th of November
Instead of brining back online lignite coal fired plants (1300g of CO2/KWh, IPCC) we call on the German Minister of Economy, Robert Habeck and the Chancellor Olaf Scholz to instead order new fuel rods for the 3 remaining reactors: Emsland, Neckarwestheim II and Isar 2 (12g of CO2/KWh, IPCC). Westinghouse has offered to deliver them as early as March, within 6 to 12 months. In addition, the recently shut plants of Grohnde, Brokdorf and Gundremmingen C shall be restarted as soon as possible. Fuel is to be ordered.
Aside from the obvious benefits in terms of avoided CO2 emissions, postponing the closure and reopening of the recently shut plants would bring further benefits:
- Less gas could be used for producing electricity, which would leave more for the industry and to keep the citizens warm. Industries that are vital to human life such as fertiliser production could partly be re-opened.
- Pressure would be taken off the LNG-Market, where limited supply and extremely high prices have led to blackouts in countries such as Lebanon, Pakistan and Bangladesh, with devastating consequences.
- More abundance of energy would result in lower prices, which means less money for Russia to fuel its war on Ukraine.
- Less local pollution due to the burning of coal, a major health hazard.
- Cancelling the closure is an act of solidarity with our European allies. As Europe is interconnected through the grid, black- and brownouts are a real possibility and decisions that the German government takes have consequences beyond the German borders.
- More carbon credits would be available for European countries still heavily relying on coal, who need them to keep their populations warm.
The idea to increase the use of domestic lignite coal in place of nuclear, is seen as a dead end by Schmidt. “Because the combustion of any kind of hydrocarbons” (…) “leads to dangerous heating of the planet.”(…)
Whoever calls on coal to replace oil long term, should know that people in ten years time will fear their children not getting enough air. Schmidt is convinced that his horror play will soon feature prominent actors, once the apocalyptics of the club of Rome have realized that.
 United Nations Scientific Committee to Investigate the Effects of Atomic Radiation
 Excerpt from https://www.spiegel.de/politik/kernenergie-der-kanzler-geht-aufs-ganze-a-e8ebb4ad-0002-0001-0000-000040349636 1979 on the struggles of chancellor Helmut Schmidt to get nuclear going.
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