Throwing away the future

It seems that the risk of catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis in Germany is very high, while in neighbouring France they pose no threat.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said a decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 can make her country a trailblazer in renewable energy.

In the aftermath of Japan's nuclear crisis at Fukushima, some European nations are rethinking their atomic plans. But France, home to 58 of 143 reactors in the EU, remains nuclear energy's champion, and plans not to retire its power stations but to expand them.

Two similar countries, both moving away from fossil fuels but in two very different directions.

Personally I have no problem with fossil fuels as I don't subscribe to the greenhouse effect global warming climate change climate disruption caused by CO2 emissions.

Fossil fuels are finite so we do need another option, however, we might as well continue to use them until they become economically unviable or a real alternative is found.

I believe that real alternative to be nuclear power. True enough it can be dangerous and it can be dirty, but that is because at the moment we only have nuclear fission.That involves splitting atoms to release energy but at the same time releasing a load of radioactive crap. What we need is nuclear fusion, a much cleaner option where atomic nuclei are fused together, again releasing vast quantities of energy.

Fusion cannot yet be done under controlled conditions but with continued research it is within the realms of possibility for the near future.

Research is the key. We need to continue with using fission to generate electricity and push our knowledge in that area to its limit, therefore unlocking the secrets of fusion along the way.

What we don't need to do is panic and hide under the bed just because a problem has happened in Japan that could never be repeated on continental Europe.

Yes they are having serious problems at Fukushima but it was hit by a magnitude 8 earthquake, followed by a tsunami. What are the chances?

The Germans are not handling this in a very sensible manner. As The Snowolf points out, Germany's economy is going through a crucial period in history. To turn away from nuclear power and insist that renewables are the only other option is committing economic suicide.

"We can be the first major industrialised country that achieves the transition to renewable energy with all the opportunities - for exports, development, technology, jobs - it carries with it."

No you can't. Renewable energy in it's current state could not even come close to providing all the power needs of a large industrialised nation like Germany. We can see from our own dabblings in renewable energy, the huge cost to the public purse and the low yield it provides.

It certainly does provide jobs though. The kind of jobs that are paid for by the ever suffering tax payer but never put anything back.

If renewable energy, solar and wind power, are ever to be a viable option, the technology needs to be vastly improved. Changing your economy to rely on it totally will be a bigger disaster than Fukushima.

France on the other hand has different ideas. I see France becoming the lowest carbon economy in Europe while making a lot of money selling nuclear generated energy to a Germany that can't make enough of it's own energy to survive.

Two countries to watch closely over the coming years.

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