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You Reap What You Sow
Germany’s Nuclear Phaseout Cost Runneth Over

Germany’s utilities aren’t ready to shoulder the costs of decommissioning the country’s nuclear reactors, according to a new report. That means—you guessed it—taxpayers will likely have to step in to help pay for the phaseout. Reuters reports:

German taxpayers could end up spending billions of euros to help close the country’s nuclear plants as current funding plans involving utilities risk falling short, a report commissioned by the government and seen by Reuters showed on Friday.

At least part of the 36 billion euros ($42 billion) in provisions set aside by Germany’s four nuclear operators should be taken under government control, the report by law firm Becker Buettner Held recommended.

This is, in a sense, a case of Germany’s chickens coming home to roost. Public opinion swung against nuclear energy in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, leading the government to accelerate plans to remove nuclear from the national energy mix. These plants aren’t cheap to build and, given their sensitive nature, aren’t cheap to close down, either. It’s not surprising, then, that the country’s utilities are struggling to find the necessary funds.

So once again Germany’s “green” energy policies will cost the taxpayer (we say “green” because, while environmentalists hold intense anti-nuclear biases, the energy source is one of the only sources of zero-emissions baseload energy). Cutting nuclear out is expensive, but so too is subsidizing renewables like wind and solar energy, which have boomed in recent years thanks to heavy support from the German government.

At this point, it almost seems like Germany is seeking out ways to make energy more expensive for its citizens.

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  • Ken Moon

    “At this point, it almost seems like Germany is seeking out ways to make energy more expensive for its citizens.”


    This is the essence of the “blue model”, not only in Germany, but also in the US, (and it’s not just energy, it’s living in the suburbs, driving a car, eating what we want, etc etc etc)

    Barack Obama: “Under my plan…, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” (January 2008)

  • FriendlyGoat

    It’s not a completely ridiculous proposition that the needed responses to climate change and nuclear hazards may be more expensive than the cheapest energy sources. “The market” is incapable of making a value judgment about either of those long term risks.

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