German Giant Siemens Quits Nuclear Industry

Europe’s largest engineering conglomerate, Siemens, has announced that it is to halt all manufacturing for and investment in nuclear energy as a direct result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine, Siemens CEO Peter Löscher said that “after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the chapter is closed.”

Instead, Mr Löscher said, Siemens will “expand its renewable energy activities. We will no longer be involved in managing the building or financing of nuclear plants.”

Mr Löscher attributed the decision to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan and to the German public’s fear of nuclear energy, Der Spiegel continued.

Earlier this year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that all 17 nuclear reactors in her country would be closed within the next ten years.

Only two years ago, Siemens announced plans to partner with Russian nuclear firm Rosatom to build up 400 new nuclear plants by 2030. Siemens has also been involved with every German nuclear power plant ever built.

“Germany’s shift towards renewable energies is the project of the century,” Mr Löscher added, saying that he believed Germany was on track to hit its target of generating 35 percent of its energy using natural power sources by 2020.

The Fukushima disaster is the largest nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, but it is more complex as multiple reactors and spent fuel pools are involved.

The disaster has been assessed at Lever 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), the maximum scale value. It has been estimated that it will take a workforce in the thousands several decades to clean up the area.

Last month, a spokesman for the Japanese Government said that “some areas of the evacuation zone around the nuclear plant could stay a forbidden zone for some decades. The spokesman was responding to reports that the crippled Fukushima plant was still leaking radiation.

An official statement from the Tokyo Power Company said that it would take “more than 20 years before residents could safely return to areas with current radiation readings of 200 millisieverts per year, and a decade for areas at 100 millisieverts per year.”

The total amount of iodine-131 and caesium-137 released into the atmosphere has been estimated to exceed 10 percent of the emissions from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

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  1. The only way forward is nuclear power I have come to the conclusion of in the last few years having originally being against it. That and coal of which we have vast reserves.
    Cutting energy production and sources coupled with the growth of world population can only mean power cuts. This is inescapable logic.
    The tragedy in Fukushima was a result of an old plant on a fault line suffering a tsunami. Yes huge problems have been the result ( or so we are led to believe ) of the accident but in deepest Dorset or Bavaria where is the problem going to arise?
    Out of each accident lessons are learnt and acted on, just like the coal mining industry that has evolved in safety over the decades.

  2. Although not the ‘only way forward’ nuclear power must be part of our energy source. Siemens has irons in many fires – including the apparent ablity to build trains for Britain – and most of these are more profitable to them than the high cost involved in building nuclear plant and meeting the strict safety rules that they now demand.
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel is as opportunist as most old party politicians and as equally devoid of any constant beliefs.(Remember she was once a communist party politician in the old days of Eastern Germany). She came out with this nonsense that Germany will close down its nuclear power stations as a sop to try and gain some of the Green vote, which, unlike the diminishing support in the UK, commands some 10% of the poll in most German states.
    Where will they find the power to replace nuclear energy?They are committed to the Carbon Taxes that are designed to limit dependency on oil and gas – and certainly coal.
    Solar power, wave and tidal power can play a growing part. But surely not more of those extremely expensive wind turbines which fail to produce half the power they were claimed to provide? Germany has captured the major part of the market in their manufacture. Let them be happy in selling them to mugs like Britain.
    Of course we must be open to new ideas in working with nature, but as Nationalists we need to gain some aspect of power in the short term. We will not achieve this by trying to place ourselves as an alternative to the Greens.

  3. A couple of points:

    (1) Opposing nuclear energy no more places us as an alternative to the Greens than opposing the EU places us as an alternative to UKIP or supporting the NHS does in respect of Labour. Party policy should be determined by what we infer from learned and expert opinion to be correct, not by political dogma akin to “the Greens are against nuclear energy and are lefties – hence we must support nuclear energy ‘cos we don’t want to be seen as being in the same political bed as the left”.

    (2) Although it is certainly true that we (hopefully) learn by our mistakes, a coal mining disaster is in a completely different league to a nuclear disaster. Disasters, by their very nature are neither normally planned nor anticipated; only a complete idiot would suggest that Britain (even taking into account the adoption of the best technology and safety practices available) is somehow immune from nuclear disaster. The bottom line is we can live with any number of coal mining disasters – but even one serious nuclear disaster could render huge swathes of Britain uninhabitable (and not just deepest darkest Dorset) for years, result in a huge death toll over decades and even affect unborn generations yet to come.

    Whereas nuclear energy has a most definite up-side, it also has a terrible downside. The onus, I would suggest, on those who advocate nuclear power is to explain how the downside can be all but eliminated – at least to the extent that any potential nuclear disaster posses no more of a threat to the British public than a coal mining disaster.

    Strangely enough, I may be able to come to the aid of the pro-nuclear energy lobby on that one, as I have a suggestion which I intend to “kite-fly” (to be shot down?) in a future article on this site.

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