(May 26, 2000) The phaseout of nuclear energy and change towards renewable energy could save a lot of money, according to a study by the Flensburg University in Germany. Jobs at the nuclear sites can be maintained if investments are made in renewable energy plants which replace the operating nuclear reactors.
(530.5172) WISE Amsterdam - A study by the German Flensburg University concluded that a rapid phaseout of nuclear energy would result in huge financial benefits. The study "Chance Atomausstieg - Perspektiven für neue Arbeitsplätze an Atomstandorten" (Chance nuclear phaseout--perspectives for new jobs at nuclear sites) was conducted on request of Greenpeace Germany. Greenpeace wants to discuss the results with workers from nuclear reactors and local politicians at nuclear sites.
Employment does not have to decrease in case of a rapid closure of nuclear plants. About 24,500 new jobs are to be created if a change is made towards renewable energy by 2025. Although the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the scenario will increase until 2005, after that year it will be reduced. According to the study, the cumulative CO2 emissions until 2025 would even be 1086 million tons lower than with continued operation of nuclear reactors. The change to renewable energy would gain economic benefits as high as DM 83 billion (US$37.4 billion), i.e., working out the renewable energy option would save this amount of money compared to the government-desired phaseout of nuclear energy by 2025. Costs are mainly saved because of a smaller amount of radioactive waste and avoidance of expensive upgrades of reactors. The study failed to include amounts of compensation claimed by nuclear reactor operators. The researchers state that the amount of DM1 billion(US$0.45 billion) per reactor could be paid from the savings made.
The researchers worked out employment scenarios for the Stade, Biblis and Isar nuclear reactor sites. Because of its connection to coastal waters and possibilities of transport, Stade would be a suitable site for the production of wind turbines and the construction of a gas-fired electricity plant. With this, 600 to 1,200 jobs could be created. At the moment, 350 people are working in the Stade nuclear plant.
The 750 jobs at the Biblis A and B reactors could be maintained if the electricity production is replaced by a gas-fired plant. The 650 jobs at Isar could almost be maintained with the construction of a factory for biomass facilities and a technology center for fuel cells, which would result in a total of 400 to 500 jobs.
The obligation of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions in Germany until 2010 by 21%, compared to 1990, could be met easily with the renewable energy scenario.
Source: Strahlentelex (FRG), 4 May 2000.