Positive Environment News

German nuclear power exit jars with CO2 goals - DAtF

Date: 07-Feb-03
Country: GERMANY

"Depending on the share of each energy resource (other than nuclear) that will mean between 80 and 130 million tons of additional CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions," the president of the Berlin-based Deutsche Atomforum (DAtF) said in a statement.

Gert Maichel, who also heads German utility RWE's (RWEG.DE) energy plant division RWE Power, said this total dwarfed the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions that Germany still had to make under the Kyoto pact on global warming.

"Compared to that (amount of CO2 emissions), the 24 million tons of CO2 which we still need to cut, to fulfil German Kyoto commitments, seem small," Maichel said.

The German government aims to entirely ditch nuclear power, which accounts for almost a third of German power generation of 550 terawatt hours (TWh), by the early 2020s.

Germany is also pressing on with political targets to slash emissions of greenhouse gases, which largely rule out the promotion of "dirty" coal-based technology.

The Kyoto Protocol, agreed by the United Nations in 1997, aims to reduce the developed world's output of the gases which trap heat in the atmosphere with potentially grave long-term consequences for the global environment.

Maichel said a EU proposal to make power firms manage their decommissioning funds - money kept to pay for the dismantling of old nuclear plants - separately from the rest of their balance sheet was legally unfounded.

"As long as there is no harmonisation in (nuclear) waste disposal within the EU, firms in Germany will be disadvantaged, as they have taken high precautionary measures due to sophisticated (German) laws," he added.

The European Parliament has called for a change in legislation to stop power companies with large decommissioning funds from using the money to buy up competitors.

Nuclear power aside, coal makes up 52 percent of Germany's annual power production and gas nine percent while renewables and minor sources provide the rest.

© Thomson Reuters 2003 All rights reserved

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