Nuclear power talk with Anne Will: “You only get out when you got on somewhere else”


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Nuclear power talk by Anne Will
“You don’t get off until you get on somewhere else”

By Ingo Scheel

There are too many emotions in the nuclear power debate. This was agreed on the day after the final exit from the ARD talk show “Anne Will”. And by the way, it was also about Angela Merkel’s qualification as a physicist.

When two discontinued models meet, things are leisurely, at least that’s what you might think. On Sunday evening in the ARD there was little to feel. On the one hand Anne Will, on the other hand nuclear power – while one still has a few months until the off switch is pressed, the other had just experienced it. Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim 2, the last three nuclear power plants still in operation in Germany, should have been shut down on December 31, 2022. Due to the energy crisis, the nuclear power plants continued to run in a so-called ‘limited stretch operation’ until April 15, 2023. Then that was it.

An era came to an end, the history of this form of energy production in Germany lasted for more than 60 years. And what accompanied nuclear power during its (radio)active career in this country was still the tone the day after: There are discussions, sometimes quite lively, with the decision that Markus Söder described as an “energy policy ghost trip” in view of the overall European situation. designated, not only fallen this weekend. “The nuclear phase-out had long been decided,” says Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen).

In general, things should be approached in a less exaggerated manner, remarked Saxony-Anhalt’s Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff. “We would be well advised to de-emotionalise the discussion,” said Haseloff, who would not have been responsible for the ban on nuclear power in this form. It’s all about building up your own expertise in research, treating the dismantling carefully and allowing a time buffer, because: “You only get off when you’ve gotten on somewhere else.”

Polemics against Merkel

The “Welt” chief economist Dorothea Siems drew attention to the emotional perspective in Germany when it comes to nuclear power and, with an ironic swipe, recalled Angela Merkel at the time of the reactor accident in Fukushima, Japan, which, according to her statement at the time, caused the Chancellor to rethink have led. The fact that the oldest reactor ultimately failed to withstand a tsunami wave – “What new things do you learn as a physicist?”. In any case, Japan is not an example for Germany, since in the aftermath of the oil crisis in 1973, when “the lights really went out” there, the focus was completely on nuclear power as an alternative.

While Siems described the exit as a mistake and referred to the situation with the coal-fired power plants – “we are as dirty as only Poland or the Czech Republic, which are also very coal-heavy” – the astrophysicist and science journalist Harald Lesch brought the group down to earth with verve facts back. So that foundation on which a Green like Robert Habeck says today that nuclear power in the Ukraine is completely okay, “as long as things run safely, they’re built.”

“It should make us think that there is no company in the world that insures nuclear power,” Lesch stated. “Hands off! Never again! Who ends up taking the garbage out of the kitchen? This technology is a dead-end technology.” And what kind of statement was made by CDU politician Carsten Linnemann that the nuclear power plants would continue to process their own waste in the medium term? Lesch once again: “He was talking nonsense there, there isn’t even a research program for it. You have to be careful there. Nuclear energy is the greatest power in the universe, it’s not going, bang, bang, off”!

“Söder changes positions like his underpants”

When Johannes Vogel from the FDP is asked again about Söder and his erratic attitude to nuclear power, he has a clear opinion: “Söder changes his positions like underpants. I would not like to give someone like him the responsibility.” Chancellor Scholz was quoted as saying in a speech that four to five wind turbines would have to be set up by 2030 and that solar and electric mobility should be further promoted. Lesch quickly quoted a little Gaul: “It doesn’t all work like with Asterix and the satellite town: a snap of the fingers and the buildings are there. You can decide a lot, but in the end it’s people who build the wheels, and there aren’t any companies, that Staff. Where are the professionals?” All of these are actually great opportunities and great opportunities, but poorly communicated.

As if the two wanted to give an example of what it’s like to communicate in a suboptimal manner, Göring-Eckardt and Siems repeatedly got into verbal duels, as if it were about shutting the other down. When Siems finally brought the heat pumps into play, Anne Will pulled the ripcord: “We’re not going to include them now.”

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