Despite popular sentiment, when you assume the priors of policy-makers, it’s rare to see policies implemented with absolutely no reasonable justification. But Germany set out to do just that, and recently fully realized its goal. The shutting down of the final nuclear reactors in Germany is unsound economically, environmentally, and strategically; the only excuse given was an irrational fear of a preventable danger.
Since the first nuclear power plant connected to a grid in 1954, nuclear power plants have continuously become safer, and, compared to other means of energy production (including methods Germany will continue to use), nuclear power is by far one of the least deadly.
And so, failing to actually increase safety, what will this move mean for Germany?
With energy prices already soaring in much of Europe due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this move will do nothing to help with major German energy provider E.ON hiking prices by 45% immediately after the final reactors were shut down. Energy becoming increasingly expensive is not just a major financial burden for citizens paying for electricity usage in their homes, it also has knock-on effects as businesses also see their energy bills increase and pass this cost on to the customer.
The aforementioned Russian invasion is relevant not just to the economic cost of Germany’s choice but also Germany’s security. Germany, despite banning the use of fracking at home, relies on imported natural gas for a significant amount of its energy needs, and one of the major exporters of natural gas is Putin’s Russia. At a time when all other sane and decent countries pursue policies that increase, or at the least maintain, distance from Russia, German policy will instead push it towards one of the most brutal regimes in the world.
Much of the discussion around energy policy nowadays is related to the environmental impact. Rather than focus on first cutting the most polluting and carbon-emitting energy sources, such as oil and coal, Germany chose to cut out one of the most reliable and clean sources we have available, nuclear. Short of a breakthrough in battery technology and/or nuclear fusion, nuclear fission will be an essential part of any successful plan to lower carbon emissions and prevent severe increases in the average global temperature.
Germany’s decision to eliminate nuclear energy, in light of the continued reliance on other worse forms of energy production, brings no benefits to the German people, in fact it worsens their conditions on all fronts. The German government’s decision to pursue this policy means that the German government has failed its people.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.