23 May 2011

Germany says ‘yes’ to nuclear power in its backyard

An interesting item over on World Nuclear News reports that a Germany power utility, RWE Group, has acquired a chunk of a nuclear power station in the Netherlands. The story, Dutch nuclear plant to be 30% German-owned, describes “legal wranglings” that have been going on for a couple of years.

So, as Germany, ever hostile to anything nuclear, ponders unplugging its own reactors, can it, like the UK, where EDF Energy owns a large chunk of the electricity industry, look to a future when it imports nuclear electricity from foreign power stations?

Then again, if German consumers really do turn the idea of radioactive electricity, perhaps RWE’s customers in the UK will benefit from the company’s share in the Borssele nuclear power station.

The internationalisation of energy seems to pass over the heads of many. For example, someone asked to comment on something I had written on technology and climate change recently dismissed the idea that one day the UK might import electricity from solar power stations in the Sahara desert. I suggested that this could happen over the existing links to France, and through the planned European Electricity Grid Initiative, not to mention the recently opened BritNed cable.

I have no idea why the reviewer, probably an academic, dismissed the idea that the UK could receive renewable energy from Europe over a grid that is designed to carry renewable energy between countries in Europe. Then again, the same critic did not seem to realise that China is by far and away the world’s biggest supplier of rare earth metals.