April 4, 2011
What do you do when you’ve suddenly lost 7,000 megawatts of nuclear power? Why you start importing electricity from someone who hasn’t closed their reactors, of course.
That’s what Germany has done since Chancellor Angela Merkel – surrounded by Greens – took the hasty step of closing down Germany’s seven oldest reactors in response to Fukushima. Reuters reports today what seemed inevitable – the Germans, formerly an exporter of power, are now importing 12 percent of their electricity, mostly from France and the Czech Republic. Those countries have power to spare because they rely heavily on . . . . nuclear energy.
“Prior to this, a scenario typical of March had been in place, involving net exports of 70 to 150 GWh a day,” reports Reuters. "Power imports from France and the Czech Republic have doubled, those into the Netherlands and Switzerland have halved.”
That hasn’t been the only impact. “Wholesale prices of German quarterly power in 2011 have risen by 12 percent,” says Reuters, quoting a report from BDEW, the German utility industry association. “Carbon emissions prices have also risen by 10 percent.”
Chancellor Merkel ordered a three-month shutdown after Greens raised a public outcry over Fukushima. The uproar is likely to increase by the end of this month with the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl. Greenpeace International is reportedly preparing to release a study claiming a million people around the world died as a result of that accident. An extensive UN report done five years ago said the figure was 60 deaths with the possibility of 4,000 additional cancers. Analysts are going to be challenged trying to figure out why there is such a discrepancy between the two reports.
Read more about it at Reuters