- Germany bids adieu to its last three nuclear reactors
- Elon Musk condemns the decision, citing national security risks
- Germany still heavily reliant on coal and Russian gas supplies
Germany waved a heartfelt farewell to its final three nuclear reactors on April 15, marking the end of a contentious journey and fulfilling a long-standing promise. Meanwhile, Elon Musk, the ultimate CEO of everything from Tesla to SpaceX, has recently taken the title of the world's most influential and powerful boss. With a product or service from one of his companies available on every continent, Musk is set on making a lasting impact on our planet, particularly when it comes to climate change.
Instead of joining the ranks of environmental activists who condemn fossil fuel supporters, Musk aims to show the skeptics that a sustainable energy economy is achievable. That's why he's slamming Germany's decision to ditch nuclear power, calling it a colossal blunder for a nation lacking energy independence. Germany had been procrastinating for a decade before finally pulling the plug on the nuclear power plants of Isar 2, Neckarwestheim, and Emsland, which provided 6% of the country's energy.
Musk's stance on the issue is clear: he believes that Germany should not only halt its nuclear power shutdown but also reopen the plants that have already been closed. "It's crazy to shut down nuclear power plants," Musk said in an interview a year ago. Germany's decision to shut down its nuclear power plants, according to Musk, is "total madness" and poses a national security risk.
As the largest emitter of CO2 in the European Union, Germany remains heavily dependent on coal, which provided 33% of the country's energy in 2022. Despite the gas crisis, coal consumption even increased by 8% the previous year. The country had initially planned to rely on cheap Russian gas, considered less polluting than coal, to support its transition to renewable energy sources. However, this plan was disrupted when Russian President Vladimir Putin reduced Russian gas deliveries to Europe in response to EU sanctions.
This gas war raised questions about Germany's energy independence, especially as the country is home to major multinationals like Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Siemens. A recent survey revealed that 59% of respondents believe that giving up nuclear power in the current context is not a good idea. The German government insists that the country's energy supply remains secure, with gas reservoirs at 64.5% capacity, thanks to massive imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Germany has set ambitious goals to transition away from fossil fuels, aiming to cover 80% of its electricity needs with renewables by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. However, without nuclear power, experts are left questioning the feasibility of these objectives.
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