This week, German media reported a different angle on the “micro-fissures” now plaguing nuclear reactors in Europe. It seems that the risks have been known for decades. Craig Morris takes a look.
Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have been known for negating most policies which in the short run require some level of altruism and sense of responsibility, from climate change to immigration issues. When Germany embarked upon its revolutionary and transformative energy policy which became known as Energiewende, CEE political leaders were quick to condemn and ridicule the policy. Jan Ondrich explains.
Nuclear reactors running on thorium are widely held to be inherently safer than the awful pressurized-water reactors we have today. So why don’t we have thorium reactors? A new TV documentary also available online answers the question quite well. Craig Morris sums up the evidence.
Vattenfall has failed to find a buyer for its coal assets in Germany. The focus is now on alternative models, such as a fund to protect workers. Craig Morris explains.
The restructuring of the energy system in one of the world’s leading industrialized nations is undoubtedly a highly ambitious undertaking. There is no blueprint for this energy transition that would offer a simple step-by-step procedure to follow. In that sense, the Energiewende is an open learning process and pilot project at the same time, one that is being observed internationally with a mixture of hope and skepticism. However, there is one thing that the German energy transition is certainly not: an island of its own that isolates Germany’s energy economy. On the contrary, a quick overview of the world’s state of affairs with regard to energy shows that the global energy transition is now picking up speed, as Ralf Fücks points out.
Germany’s grid expansion between north and south has caused a lot of controversy. Instead of building new power lines, the Energiewende should embrace smart solutions in form of demand-side management and by building renewables close to the largest power consumers in the south, argues Andreas Kraemer.
Last week, the Czech government proposed a bill, which is now to be reviewed in Parliament. The renewables community is speaking of a step in the right direction, but the battle is still uphill, as a sociologist explained at a conference our Craig Morris attended.
In many countries, solar energy is enjoying great success – photovoltaic modules are increasingly affordable and available to those interested in producing their own electricity. In the Czech Republic, however, those investing in and building solar power stations must constantly resist efforts by the government to destabilise the business environment, as Martin Sedlák explains.