Skepticism against nuclear power amongst Germany’s citizens has been growing, but since Fukushima politicians have been on edge as well. Political strategies appear to be universal, as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has done a complete 180 from last October when she played for nuclear power’s team, extending the lift of Germany’s 17 nuclear plants. Well with an election looming in front of her, Merkel’s Christian Democrats encouraged her to take a tough anti-nuclear stance in hopes they would secure power in southwestern Germany, in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Merkel would announce the presentation of a new energy policy planned for three months from April 1, 2011, turning Germany, the largest economy into Europe, a nuclear-power-free zone. Ironically it coincides with the three-month moratorium (which is a delay or suspension) on nuclear power, that the government in Berlin decreed March 14, 2011 right after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Merkel and her party lost however and the Green Party has been chosen to lead. Germany has taken on a different motto from the EU, Chief Executive of RWE Jürgen Grossman said, “First switch them off, then test them.” Grossman admits that the question is no longer about whether nuclear energy should be phased out, as that has been answered by Fukushima and the reaction of his fellow Germans. Currently the question on the table for big companies like RWE is how soon can nuclear power be phased out from Germany?
France refuses to listen to the vocal opposition that has become prominent against their country’s energy policy. President Obama ordered the United States to take a look at nuclear power plants that may be in the same seismic danger zones as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (Nuclear Nation: Obama Orders Assessment of Nuclear Power Plants in the United States)
Rethinking nuclear power seems to be on many minds across the world since the Fukushima disaster. The European Union (EU) has made giant steps to test and assess the safety and ‘stress’ levels of 143 nuclear plants in its member countries. (European Union Countries) After the announcement on March 16th by EU’s energy commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, most of European instances greeted the idea with open arms. However environmental and energy experts spoke up hoping that this time they would be heard, warning that certain risks of nuclear power are deeper than the operation of the reactor systems. Carl Schlyter, a member of the Swedish Green Party, listed the risks of nuclear energy, basically outlining the entire production process as he covered, waste treatment, plant security, exploiting uranium mines and transport. Oettinger pointed out that he does not believe every single one of the 143 nuclear power plants in the EU would be approved under the tests. If so the task for equipping them in order to pass the ‘inspection’ could prove to be economically and technically impossible.
Italy however has been nuclear power free since the 1987 phase out bought about by Chernobyl nearly 25 years ago. Plans to build 4 brand new nuclear power plants in Italy by 2020 have been suspended due to Fukushima, Paolo Roamni announced, but only for ‘one year’s time’’. The anniversary of Chernobyl is coming up on April 26 of this year, which would most likely add to the growing concerns of nuclear power and safety.