Nuclear utilities are scaring the public with a "dark future", loss of many thousands of jobs and an substantial increase in CO2 emissions. However, the lights in Germany will not go out without nuclear power.
As in all its neighboring countries, not too few but too much energy is produced in Germany. There is an installed capacity of 110 GW, and the maximum requirement is only about 80 GW (1 GigaWatt = 1000 MW). This means an overcapacity of 20 to 30 percent. Nuclear power plants produce only 20 GW. So even without the need for any replacement power, all nuclear power plants could be closed at once. In the case that during peak hours more electricity would be needed than produced, it could easily be imported from neighboring states (because of the liberal EU market) which are also dealing with a large overcapacity of energy.
Concerning the argument of job losses, focusing on energy-saving measures and sustainable energy would create more jobs than the capital-intensive atomic power. Every job lost in the nuclear industry could be replaced by two in another energy sector.
Getting out nuclear energy also does not mean an increase in CO2 emissions. The Wuppertal-Institute for climate, environment and traffic released a report showing that not long ago. A nuclear phaseout, combined with a buildup of efficient gas power plants (combined heat and power), investments in energy- saving measures, and promotion of sustainable energies would give rise to a really "sustainable energy supply" with low emissions of greenhouse effect- causing gases.
Getting out nuclear energy could by then become "a motor for climate protection".
die Taz, 20 October 1998