There's been a lot of overblown rhetoric about the so-called "death" of the global nuclear renaissance. Anti-nuclear groups have trumpeted that the crisis at Fukushima in Japan is the silver stake that has finally been driven into the heart of the nuclear monster. Frankly, that's a lot of wishful thinking.
While the situation in Germany represents a political dust up rather than a reactor safety issue, the long-term implications for the economic powerhouse of Europe is not lost on other nations.
Here is a brief video in which Russian premier Vladmir Putin asks Germany what it is going to do for energy once it shuts down its nuclear reactors.
Last November Russian premier Vladmir Putin asked German business groups whether they planned to invest in Siberian firewood for energy since they don't like nuclear reactors or the prospect of being reliant on Russian natural gas. Here's a video clip.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel may find that keeping the lights and the factory assembly lines humming, a key jobs issue, may be persuasive when the next national election comes around. The delusional vision of solar energy and wind power being positioned as a substitute for the reactors can only lead to one outcome. It is a situation worse that the one that South Africa finds itself in with brownouts, an inability to raise electricity rates for new generating capacity due to social welfare spending, and overall politically intractable gridlock.
The stark reality of energy security in the 21st century is the nuclear reactors are needed to put the world on a path toward lower carbon emissions and to supply more electricity to raise standards of living that improve the human condition.
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