Upgedatete und in einem englischen Ausdruck korrigierte Fassung, 4.6.2011
Am 1. Juni 2011 war in der führenden indischen Tageszeitung „The Hindu“ ein Editorial, d.h. ein nichtgezeichneter, von der Redaktion verantworteter Kommentar zu lesen, der eine Fehldarstellung der politischen Fronten in Deutschland gibt. Ich habe einen Leserbrief dazu geschrieben, der am 4.6.2011 noch nicht veröffentlicht war und wahrscheinlich der Zensur zum Opfer gefallen ist. Anschließend an den Artikel der indischen Zeitung der Text meines Leserbriefs.
„Germany’s decision to shut down its nuclear power plants latest by 2022 is a historic response to rising public opinion after the Fukushima disaster. It is momentous because it comes from a conservative, business-oriented coalition that earlier viewed nuclear power as vital for competitiveness. It is worth recalling that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government legislated last year to overturn a similar commitment on closure made by its centre-left predecessor. But the nuclear accident in Japan and the swelling tide of public protests led to the dropping of the plan to extend the lifespan of 17 nuclear power stations until 2033. What is more, seven old reactors were retired. Chancellor Merkel’s bold move clearly derives much confidence from a forward-looking energy plan that emphasises cleaner and better power from natural gas and coal, and an expanded role for renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
The prospect of doing away with nuclear power has world-wide appeal although the imperatives are not the same in every country. The German story is one of an industrialised society that has no compulsion to meet the energy needs of robust economic growth and rapidly rising living standards. In fact, nuclear energy meets 29 per cent of its needs and now requires alternatives. India, on the other hand, needs a safe and efficient mix of sources to cater to massively expanding demand. It must, in parallel, reduce the energy intensity of growth. The way to go would be to actively cooperate with countries like Germany on building efficient coal-fired power plants, tapping newer technologies such as river turbines, and aggressively expanding solar-based technologies. Multiple options are necessary also to stay aligned to carbon emission goals.“
Mein Leserbrief dazu v. 2.6.2011:
„Your editorial could have been written by the German government itself. It’s far from the facts.
To invoke “rising public opinion” as the trigger for the governments decision omits the frantic anti-nuclear propaganda wave that without exception all German media started immediately after the Fukushima catastrophe. Openly pro-business papers as, e.g., the leading “Handelsblatt”, conservative papers no less than so-called leftist or liberal papers, all of the TV channels, public as well as private, bombarded the public with absolutely exaggerated depictions of Fukushima horrors. In the same vein a lot of leading political representatives, from the conservative parties as well as the Social Democrats or the Greens, began talking of the need to accelerate the replacement of nuclear energy by windmills etc. So-called polls and regional elections conducted under such heavy propaganda fire yielded pictures of an anti-nuclear mood in the population – as the initiators of the propaganda, and the polls likewise, said.
But an even better corrective to your opinion is the fact that the decision from the year 2000, by the then government of Social Democrats and Greens, to liquidate nuclear energy in Germany had been reconfirmed by the government of the Christian Democrats and the Liberals six months before Fukushima. Clearly, the Merkel-government had come to this agreement with the leading representatives of big banks and big business, the power companies with their nuclear power stations included, six months before Fukushima, in Oct. 2010. This agreement combined an extension of lifetime for some of the nuclear plants with a detailed commitment to finally shut down all of them and to convert the country’s electrical power supply system to the so-called renewables. After Fukushima there was no re-orientation at all but only a fight over a change in the timetable and the redistribution of the economic losses.
Your readers should be informed, too, about the fact that Germany had blocked the development of the main nuclear technologies (new types of reactors like Fast Breeders, HTRs, fuel reprocessing) already in the end of the eighties, previously to the German re-unification, and no new power station, not even a conventional PWR, has been built since then. Today’s chancellor Merkel declared already in the nineties, when she was minister for environment and nuclear safety, that Germany was not to build any new nuclear power plant in the future. Already since then, the German public has been “educated” by the mainstream of TV and newspapers in irrational “nuclear angst”. Nevertheless, a lot of people here are still not opposed to nuclear energy, but there is no political representation for them, except for some small political groups or individual journalists.
The anti-nuclear policy in Germany is not an answer to peoples’ fears but a political scheme born in the ruling circles.
Walter Grobe (www.waltergrobe.de)“