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[cdn-nucl-l] German gov't against nuclear emission credits
In today's Globe and Mail, there is an article describing Germany's stand
against any inclusion of nuclear energy in meeting the Kyoto greenhouse gas
Germany vetoes emissions-credits plan
Canada's proposal to use nuclear energy to meet greenhouse-gas-reduction
MARK MacKINNON Parliamentary Bureau Tuesday, November 2, 1999
Ottawa -- A Canadian plan that would reward countries that export nuclear
reactors with emissions credits has been denounced by the German government
as "incompatible" with the Kyoto process.
Canada has been pushing hard in negotiations for credits that would allow it
to miss its stated target of cutting its greenhouse-gas emissions to 6 per
cent lower than 1990 levels by 2012. The hope was that the other 36
countries participating in the campaign to reduce air pollution would allow
Canada to set aside its emission-reduction goals as a reward for exporting
nuclear technology -- which emits less carbon dioxide than burning oil or
coal -- to developing nations.
Germany released a strongly worded statement during the weekend that avoided
naming Canada, but was clear.
"Germany rejects the use of nuclear energy, including as an option for
preliminary climate protection," Michael Schroeren, a spokesman for the
German environment ministry, said in a statement.
"We believe these types of projects are incompatible with the vision of
sustainable development and of a sustainable, future-oriented energy supply
"Nuclear power plants make inefficient use of energy, are economically
non-competitive and prevent the shift to an energy policy based on
efficiency and renewable energies."
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Environment Minister David Anderson are
both outspoken supporters of nuclear energy and the Candu reactor program.
In a letter to a former Turkish prime minister last year, Mr. Chrétien said
he was "convinced" of the role nuclear energy would play in reducing
Many environmentalists, however, see nuclear energy as of questionable
environmental benefit, and say it poses long-term health and waste-disposal
concerns. Steven Guilbeault, a climate specialist with Greenpeace, said he
expects opposition to Canada's plan will continue to mount.
"There's a very, very strong push against the inclusion of nuclear
industry," he said. "I'm expecting to hear a lot more ministers speak out
against it. . . ."
Aside from cutting off their nose to spite their face, I wonder what on
earth "Nuclear power plants make inefficient use of energy" means. Are they
concerned with the thermal efficiency of nuclear reactors (~32% for light
and heavy water reactors, ~41% for advanced gas reactors, higher for pebble
bed reactors)? Perhaps the Germans are actually supporting the South
African plans to build small pebble-bed helium-cooled reactors with high
thermal efficiencies? Also, uranium has no other major use other than as
nuclear fuel, as opposed to fossil fuels.
I also find it interesting that the Germans claim nuclear power plants "are
economically non-competitive" and yet call for "efficiency and renewable
energies". While the latter are and will be important, many of the big
energy efficiencies have already been attained, and renewable energies are
not generally "economically competitive" (except for large hydro projects).
I wonder how the Germans would argue that capacity factors of 25-30%
(typical for wind stations) are efficient use of resources and energy?
Germany has evidently joined in chanting the "no nuclear" mantra.
My opinions alone