Last Friday, an Indian airliner passing over Europe lost radio contact and had to be escorted by fighter jets (it could have been a terrorist attack). As the plane passed over German reactors, some were evacuated just in case. None of them were generating power at the time. Wind power, in contrast, was strong across Europe – and there’s a downside to that, too. Craig Morris explains why.
The price of solar and wind energy has dropped so dramatically in South Africa (SA), it is now almost half the cost of coal electricity. So why is government’s new energy plan biased towards expensive nuclear plants, and leaving renewable sources as an afterthought? asks Leonie Joubert. If RE industrialisation doesn’t take off in SA, it will be slow across the rest of the subcontinent.
As expected, France was heavily dependent on power imports during the first cold spell of this winter. Yet, most of the country’s reactors are back online. The US is now also investigating 17 reactors with parts from France that could also be defective. Craig Morris has the details.
Although some have argued that new nuclear is necessary for the power mix, Jan Ondřich disagrees. He takes a look at the numbers and finds that in the next 30 years, there’s no way that nuclear can compete with a mix of solar, wind, and gas.
At the end of November, Switzerland clearly rejected a proposal by the Greens for a fast closure of the country’s five reactors, leaving the Swiss with a phaseout plan without a roadmap. Opponents argued that a power shortage would be more likely if so many reactors are switched off so quickly. A look a France reveals that have a point. By Craig Morris.
On December 6, Germany’s highest court handed down a mixed ruling that practically everyone is interpreting as confirmation of their original position. The ruling provides clarity but does not put the issue to rest for good. By Craig Morris.
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.
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.
The operator of Switzerland’s nuclear reactors, Alpiq, reportedly offered reactors to France’s EDF at no cost or “a symbolic franc.” The French, who have their hands full with their own struggling fleet at home, refused the offer. A potential power shortfall still looms in the background. Craig Morris explains.
It is finally done. After months of dithering, the nuclear industry’s CEOs and government officials of the UK, France and China solemnly signed off on the nuclear plant project at Hinkley Point C at the end of September. Some maintain that these might be the first signs of a new era for nuclear power after the Fukushima catastrophe, but Hinkley can barely hide the fact that the French nuclear “champion” EDF is at the brink of collapse and urgently needs a strategic turnaround. Andreas Rüdinger explains.