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ENERGY

Dismantling nuke plants to cost €18 billion

Just dismantling Germany’s nuclear power plants during the country’s phaseout from nuclear energy will cost power companies about €18 billion alone, according to a new study by a consulting firm.

Dismantling nuke plants to cost €18 billion
Photo: DPA

The study by the Arthur D. Little firm, seen by newspaper Handelsblatt, comes after German energy companies have complained about the cost and complexity of the phaseout.

The government made the decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 in the wake of the Japanese earthquake and nuclear disaster earlier this year. The country is aiming to move toward greener energy solutions.

The move has been controversial, with many opponents warning that it could lead to power shortages and higher prices for consumers. Another study has estimated that total costs to Germany from the phaseout could hit €250 billion over the next decade.

Eight reactors have already been shut down throughout the country, with nine more slated to be turned off over the next 11 years.

Decommissioning a nuclear reactor is risky and complex. Engineers have to ensure that radioactive materials don’t escape the area, and constant monitoring has to continue afterwards.

According to Handelsblatt, the decommissioning process is estimated to cost between €670 million to €1.2 billion per plant. Even more could be necessary in order to store waste materials.

An expert with Arthur D. Little emphasized the enormity of the task as well as the potential for temporary electricity shortages – challenges he said should not be underestimated.

“The nuclear phaseout in Germany presents the utilities and service providers with a difficult task,” said consultant Michael Kruse.

The Local/mdm

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ENERGY

Sweden to stop local governments blocking wind parks in final stages

Sweden's government has proposed a new law which will remove local municipalities' power to block wind parks in the final stages of the planning process, as part of a four-point plan to speed up the expansion of wind power.

Sweden to stop local governments blocking wind parks in final stages

“We are doing this to meet the increased need for electricity which is going to come as a result of our green industrial revolution,” Strandhäll said at a press conference. 

“It is important to strengthen Sweden by rapidly breaking our dependence on fossil fuels, building out our energy production and restructuring our industry. The Swedish people should not be dependent on countries like Russia to drive their cars or warm their homes.”

“We are going to make sure that municipalities who say “yes” to wind power get increased benefits,” she added in a press statement. “In addition, we are going to increase the speed with which wind power is built far offshore, which can generally neither be seen or heard from land.” 

While municipalities will retain a veto over wind power projects on their territory under the proposed new law, they will have to take their decision earlier in the planning process to prevent wind power developers wasting time and effort obtaining approvals only for the local government to block projects at the final stags. 

“For the local area, it’s mostly about making sure that those who feel that new wind parks noticeably affect their living environment also feel that they see positive impacts on their surroundings as a result of their establishment,” Strandhäll said.  “That might be a new sports field, an improved community hall, or other measures that might make live easier and better in places where wind power is established.” 

According to a report from the Swedish Energy Agency, about half of the wind projects planned since 2014 have managed to get approval. But in recent years opposition has been growing, with the opposition Moderate, Swedish Democrats, and Christian Democrat parties increasingly opposing projects at a municipal level. 

Municipalities frequently block wind park projects right at the end of the planning process following grassroots local campaigns. 

The government a month ago sent a committee report, or remiss, to the Council on Legislation, asking them to develop a law which will limit municipal vetoes to the early stages of the planning process. 

At the same time, the government is launching two inquiries. 

The first will look into what incentives could be given to municipalities to encourage them to allow wind farms on their land, which will deliver its recommendations at the end of March next year. In March, Strandhäll said that municipalities which approve wind farm projects should be given economic incentives to encourage them to accept projects on their land. 

The second will look into how to give the government more power over the approvals process for wind projects under Sweden’s environmental code. This will deliver its recommendations at the end of June next year. 

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