Guest Post: Nuclear Twilight In Europe

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by John Daly of

Nuclear Twilight in Europe

It is becoming evident to many that the March nuclear catastrophe at
Japan’s six reactor Daichi Fukushima complex has dealt a huge, possibly
fatal, blow to the nuclear industry’s hopes of a revival.

A year ago even global warming enthusiasts reluctantly embraced
nuclear power as a carbon-free energy generating system, and the
industry was ramping up for glory days as a result.

The triple whammy against nuclear power beginning with the 1979
partial meltdown at Three Mile Island, followed by 1986’s Chernobyl 
disaster and now Fukushima, effectively present a “three strikes and
you’re out” call against civilian nuclear energy power generation for
the foreseeable future.

That said, with the trillions of dollars already invested in 436
nuclear power plants (NNP) worldwide, according to the International
Atomic energy Agency (IAEA),  the industry has begun to push back, and
“ground zero” is emerging as Europe, not Japan, with the lawyers

In the wake of Fukushima, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced
on 30 May that Germany, the world's fourth-largest economy and Europe's
biggest, would shut down all of its 17 would abandon nuclear energy
completely between 2015 and 2022, an extraordinary commitment, given
that Germany’s 17 NPPS Germany produce about 28 percent of the country's

If Berlin’s announcement sent nuclear power proponents seating, worse
was to follow, as Switzerland is examining a proposal to phase out the
country's five nuclear plants by 2034.

Finally, if any doubts existed about Europe’s commitment of nuclear
energy, on 12-13 June in a referendum in which 56 percent of Italian
voters participated, an eye-watering 94 percent voted against nuclear
power.  Following the 1987 Chernobyl disaster, Italy decided to shut
down its four NPPs and the last operating plant closed in 1990. Three
years ago Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reversed this decision but
after Fukushima Berlusconi announced a one-year moratorium on his plans
for new nuclear power plants, intending to restart Italy’s nuclear
energy program in 2014. Berlusconi spent the days leading up to the
polls challenging the nuclear power measure in court, declaring he
wouldn't vote and suggesting his fellow Italians stay at home too. They
didn’t, and Berlusconi’s electoral defeat has ended nuclear
possibilities for Italy for the foreseeable future. In 2010, 22.2
percent of Italy’s power came from renewable energy sources. 64.8
percent were from fossil fuels, and 13 percent were imported sources,
including French nuclear power. The stinging defeat at the polls is a
boon for Italy’s nascent renewable energy industry.

The German nuclear industry has begun to fight back, insisting that
its shutdown would cause major damage to the country's industrial base.
Utilities E.ON AG and Vattenfall Europe AG have already announced that
they will seek billions of euros in compensation, and RWE AG and EnBW
Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG are expected to follow soon. Germany's
four nuclear operators have already announced they will stop paying into
a government renewables fund, which was set up in September 2010 as
compensation for longer nuclear life-spans.

In such an environment, the only nuclear energy growth field currently is lawyers’ fees.

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writingsonthewall's picture

Never mind the Nuclear - some people on this site had better watch out - I've seen many of these phrases being used here by people pretending to know what they're talking about!


From now on - these should be banned on ZH

Stuck on Zero's picture

Here are a few more terms that need to be extinguished from ZH:

1) Business Cycle - if there were a cycle then the market would be predictable.

2) Head and Shoulders Pattern - Why not a name for all random curve shapes?

3) Over-exuberant - Meaning: "I missed out."

4) Irrational - Someone's making money.  That's rational.

5) Market forces - An Army forcing mark to market?

6) Nuclear option - Gads.  Trite.  Overused.


I Got Worms's picture

I don't believe a word of that report, since I didn't hear it mentioned this morning by Matt Lauer on the Today Show.

jus_lite_reading's picture

HOLY!!! BIG JUMP IN RADIATION IN SOUTH KOREA!!! AND NOW THEY SAY A 300sq meter hole is in reatcor 2!!!

AND now and update....... reactor 4 is smoking!!! 



redpill's picture

And as was predicted very early on by many on ZH, they are finally, finally, finally admitting they are totally fucked and will be emtombing the reactors in a sarcophagus.

spanish inquisition's picture

Gotta think that radiation is degrading the structural support on leaning #4. I am guessing it will collapse before they King Tut it. Probably politically incorrect to start a pool? (3 months, 10 days)

TheMerryPrankster's picture

on Topic, Fukushima "it's much worse than you think"

"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind," Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al Jazeera.

Japan's 9.0 earthquake on March 11 caused a massive tsunami that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. It also led to hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced evacuations of those living within a 20km radius of the plant.

Gundersen, a licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the US, says the Fukushima nuclear plant likely has more exposed reactor cores than commonly believed.

"Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed," he said, "You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively."

the remainder of the article is worth reading as well at:


Rusty Shorts's picture

Any guesses as to what is happening toward the end of this video of Fukushima?

BobPaulson's picture

The life cycle carbon footprint of a unit of nuclear power is not much better than coal.

mayhem_korner's picture

Who cares?  The whole carbon footprint notion is just fodder for the zealots of the global warming myth.

NotApplicable's picture

Not to mention the upcoming global carbon trading market that will make Al Gore even richer.

And as much as I detest sending traffic to Jones' psyop, sometimes you have to go where the info is.

MonsterZero's picture

The life cycle nuclear footprint of a unit of coal power is WORSE than nuclear.

BobPaulson's picture

Definitely worse, I was just pointing out that nuclear has significant life cycle carbon costs too.

Of course if they had gone with the thorium cycle and nuclear power was just about energy, we'd all be better off, but nuclear power has aways been about weapons so we went the uranium route. Good luck explaining that to the masses.

Jasper M's picture

Maintaining a chain reaction in thorium is a Lot harder than people seem to think. The physics makes the engineering HARD. Yes, I think we are in spitting distance of solving that now, but don't fault those that have gone before on choosing Uranium. It was prety much the only option. 

MrJoy's picture

Don't you think the need for plutonium and weapons grade uranium was the number one reason uranium reactors were chosen?

Enrico Fermi was a early proponent for developing Thorium reactors instead of Uranium ones, due to 1. No fission without action from the outside 2. No enrichment of fuel needed 3. Greatly reduced amounts of radioactive waste. Also, Thorium reactor design is based on liquid fuel, making fuel management (refueling and cooling are two examples) easier than with solid rods of hot uranium.

In my opinion the need for weapons grade fissile material (easily made using uranium reactors) created a whole infrastructure around uranium reactors, with a now established industry of mining, enrichment and waste management that has no interest in getting replaced by Thorium. How would you argue that this was not the decisive reason why uranium reactors won?

SpiritBlade's picture

We are it seems achieving meltdown on all fronts as the establisments Fourth Reich guides us into WWIII.

Please dont get distracted now by silly politics and election rhetoric. There wont be anymore elections for the fallen Republic. We gave it all away. Goodbye America, you were beautiful.

just save your kids folks...


Azannoth's picture

Kids are treated these days either like a virus(that's why you take pills or put on rubber against them) or like slaves you keep more of them so the government gives you subsidies, it's perverse, and when a TSA agent wants to fondle your daughter the fathers/mothers say "go  right ahead put your dirty hands in my daughers pants"(implicitly)

this world deserves to go down

A Nanny Moose's picture

Everybody treats everybody else like they are a virus. It is written in the bylaws of the divide and conquer handbook.

Elliott Eldrich's picture

Just FYI, for the majority of human history children have been considered as property, and were primarily useful as laborers. The idea of excluding children from the workforce, having universal public education and nurturing children to become fully realized citizens is a fairly novel idea, having only really come into existence over the last couple of hundred years. All things considered, I'm inclined to conclude that we treat children MUCH better today than they have ever been treated in the whole of human history.

MonsterZero's picture

The plan is to get the Greeks a bunch of hamster wheels to replace Germany's nuclear power loss.

Problem Is's picture

"even global warming enthusiasts reluctantly embraced nuclear power as a carbon-free energy generating system..."

Fallacy of False Premise
Nuclear power is not carbon free... The nuclear plant life cycle, from mining to decommissioning it is 90% as carbon intensive as coal...

MonsterZero's picture

Coal plants also release more radiation into the environment than nuclear power plants.

Azannoth's picture

Yes but Al Gore didn't make a movie about this yet, so the sheeeple don't know that, and theres no sexy 'hokey stick' diagram to convince them

Mercury's picture

That sexy "hockey stick" turned out to be a little...flacid.

cougar_w's picture

Actually there probably is a diagram for increasing mercury and radiation releases from coal. But nobody cares about things like that so you won't run into it on the cover of Time magazine.

The CO2 hockey stick is really just a proxy measure for the explosive growth in the consumption of all fossil fuels, which is also just a proxy for the explosive growth in materials consumption, manufacturing and transportation in the last half of the 20th century. The filling of our freeways, growth of cities, global population explosion (2B to 7B in 50 years) and expansion of global trade are also all proxies for the same phenomenon. Man has triumphed, and then teh shit happened.

It's nothing to be afraid of. It's just progress. 

Mercury's picture

Hey, all that CO2 may ultimately be holding off the next ice age which we're probably overdue for.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

Government grant money trumps science.

Scientists are majority whores same as everyone else.

The question is why governments want to promote the fraud of AGW.

mayhem_korner's picture

For control, of course.  Spend 4 decades engineering some non-disprovable theory about how industrialization is bad for the planet (Gaia), and then clamp down on it in an attempt to transfer wealth from those that have reaped rewards from risking their capital.

GW is the alpha hoax.  Not only has the supposed "supporting" science been de-bunked, but it's been well documented the high correlation between temperature trends and solar activity.  

It's fun to watch all the drones worship GW, however...particularly the younger crowd that has been taught it out of the crib doesn't see the obvious veiled effort to consolidate power.


Abitdodgie's picture

I have never seen a coal plant have total melt down

buzzsaw99's picture

It's a good thing France doesn't have any nukes close by. :roll:

trav7777's picture

we're fucked.

The peak oil denier morons spent the past 3 years saying NUKEYALER will save us, no need to worry.

now they talk about stupid shit like algae.

I wonder where the fuck Germany believes they're going to get that 28% deficit from....are they effing STUPID?

Arisu's picture

It seems you haven't heard of it yet, but there are lots of ways to get energy... from nature!

Generally this includes photovoltaics, energy crop, water power and wind power. Grid energy storage, mostly pumped-storage hydroelectricity, makes it possible to use the energy whenever it is needed, even if it isn't shining or breezy right now.

It's not impossible and I think it's not infeasible either when you consider that there isn't much feasibly recoverable fossile stuff left either and most countries have more or less exhausted their native resources already. Isn't it better to get rid of that dependance earlier so you're more likely to make the switch before it becomes unaffordably expensive? It would also help to stop these unnecessary oil wars...

cougar_w's picture

If they don't build them now, they probably won't be built ever. No matter what public sentiment is.

Not that I'm worried. There is a lot of stuff that won't be built, ever.

People think that our ability to build things is self-evident. We just decide and then we build it. Maybe there are political hurdles, maybe there are treaties, maybe the enviro-commies (not my word for them) will get their undies in a bunch (not what I would call it). And maybe for a little while, maybe a generation, we had the luxury of having those kinds of problems and they were the only problems we had.

Not any more.

Peak oil kills every other thing, every other technology, all the time, forever.

Build it now, or gtfo. Because we're not building, supplying, mining, forging or refining fuck all without abundant, cheap oil to make all the other wheels turn.

Sinestar's picture

Well, with enough electricity all that stuff can be synthesized, just need abundant, clean, cheap electricity and we should be able to move away from oil.

samsara's picture

Absolutely Right Cougar.

Peak oil kills every other thing, every other technology, all the time, forever.

Folks don't realize that we are the ONLY generation EVER to see someone land on the Moon.

Peak Oil = End of Growth.

Read the other reply you had(below),  the guy says 'As long as we have abundant Electricity,  we have no problem."

So,  there you have it.  Another well thought out 'Save' for mankind.

Sinestar's picture

We already make synthetic petroleum products, it's just not economical versus pumping the ready made precursors out of the ground. The Germans (Nazi's) were replacing natural oil with synthetics back in the 40's. But that was a do or die situation for them, so it was economically viable in that failure was not an option.

Natural gas might actually be a more troublesome natural product to replace if the planet should ever run out of it. I gather it's components are irreplaceable and vital to a wide range of industrial use.

And anyway, the world lived and societies blossomed for thousands of years without petroleum in significant amounts. Would it really be so bad having to use out noggins to figure out how to do things more simply than having cheap easy ways of doing things? Case in point, we still can't figure out exactly how the Egyptians built the great pyrimids, but I bet they didn't use a single barrel of crude oil in their construction.

samsara's picture

And anyway, the world lived and societies blossomed for thousands of years without petroleum in significant amounts.

Bullpucky.   6.6 BILLION didn't  

You didn't have 300 million in one country that thinks corn comes from cans.

Egyptians, Paramids, 10s of thousands of slaves...


Not this time Jack.

Sinestar's picture

I didn't imply 6.6 Billion. But no one really is sure what the world population was back then now are they?

Would there be mass casualties without oil? Ya. Did I imply there wouldn't? Na.

Can we replace crude oil with synthetics? Prolly, at great cost.

There's always a rude bully in every room. Read what I write, not what your imagination interjects.

trav7777's picture

so you think that because the number of people can't be fixed down to the person that this means that nobody could know how many people were alive back then?  So it could have been 5.4B or something?

Sure they can, dude.  Just because you can't figure it out doesn't mean that others cannot either.

It wasn't even 1 billion.  Look at the population graph of world population over history...see what happens when oil is discovered. 

Chump's picture

It's not that the human race can't survive without oil and natural gas, it's that the glut of cheap and efficient energy has allowed an explosive increase in the carrying capacity of the Earth.  Without those sources of energy, a few billion will starve in a matter of months, maybe weeks.

And then the survivors will go back to standards of living from a few hundred years ago, if they're lucky.  I think the shock will produce some pretty epic conflicts, personally.  I mean, consider the average, morbidly obese Joe 6-pack going from a sedentary lifestyle filled with innerwebs and reality TV to the reality that if he does not grow some food or catch it, he will die.