The nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, has led to a series of reactions. As I said in a reaction to the previous post: Germany closes 7 of their oldest nuclear plants for at least 3 months. In Belgium the debate whether the nuclear plants should close in Doel and Tihange in 2015 or 2025 is back. Everywhere in the world the nuclear debate is hot again.
Should we close some of our oldest power plants, because of an incident caused by a nature disaster? Do we have enough alternatives for the loss of energy these closings will entail? And how will energy prices rise in Belgium if we close our nuclear plant right now?
These are some questions that are very current today.
Nuclear energy provides 15 to 20 % of the global energy demand. What happens if we close these plants, there will be a huge energy shortage. Especially in countries which are very depending on this type of energy. For example: France produces 75% and Belgium produces 60% of his energy out of nuclear power. If we even just close the oldest plants (let’s say 50% of all the nuclear power plants), this will give rise to a huge decrease in energy supply.
So, in my opinion, it is impossible to close these plants right now. Unless we have a good alternative.
One such an alternative is the import of energy from our neighbor countries. Belgium does this already, which causes a very high energy bill in comparison with our neighbors. I don’t think importing more energy is a good thing.
The other alternative is to create more green energy. It is a sky high cliché, but it is the only alternative we have right now. But we have a problem here. There is not enough alternative energy to compensate the loss of nuclear energy if we close the plants right now. E.g. the wind energy in Belgium has only a share of 2.5% in all the energy production. (source: http://www.hln.be/hln/nl/2764/milieu/article/detail/1236345/2011/03/15/Windenergie-genoeg-voor-627-000-gezinnen.dhtml)
So unless we have good and sufficient alternatives, I suggest we don’t close the nuclear power plants immediately, but keep them open.
I think this disaster in Japan has opened the eyes of the people, so they have to search for new, more efficient and a safer energy source.