In the immediate wake of the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sprung into action, rescinding her decision to extend the operation of her own country's nuclear power plants and moving to have them out of operation as quickly as possible. So just how does the Chancellor plan to ensure her country's energy security? You guessed it - fossil fuels.
Germany needs to build twice the number of new fossil-fuel power plants than the government previously had earmarked in order to secure energy security while exiting nuclear power, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday, while sticking to ambitious emission-reduction goals.
"If we want to exit nuclear energy and enter renewable energy, for the transition time we need fossil power plants, " Ms. Merkel said in a parliamentary declaration on her government's decision to phase out nuclear power. "At least 10, more likely 20 gigawatts [of fossil capacity] need to be built in the coming 10 years. "
That is more than the generation capacity of Belgium, which in 2009 had capacity to generate more than 17.3 gigawatts, according to the Union of the Electricity Industry, a Europe-wide sector group.
...Michael Mueller, from the German Federation for Nature, said the climate targets can't be achieved if the additional fossil-fuel capacity were to be built, pointing to the energy industry's emissions calculations.
The switch-off of the first seven of Germany's 17 nuclear power stations will add some 25 million metric tons a year to the country's carbon-dioxide emissions, the International Energy Agency said in May.
And there you have it, kids. Even the Iron Chancellor can't have her cake and eat it too. CO2 it is. In fairness, however, Germany has had its own nuclear accident - in 1986 when a fuel pebble jammed that resulted in a minor leak of radiation detectable two miles from the plant. Zowee.