Nuclear power presentations and panel discussion at COP17 side event

The Heinrich Boell Foundation arranged a set of presentations and panel discussion on the theme of ‘Beyond coal and nuclear’.  The three highly distinguished presenters were Kimiko Hirata of the Japanese organisation Kiko network which has its goal the prevention of dangerous climate change; Arne Jungjohann of the Washington office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation (HBF); and Michaele Schreyer, member of the supervisory board of HBF.

The presentation from Kimiko focussed on the damage done by the Fukushima nuclear accident to the environment and economy of Japan It is estimated that decomissioning the damaged plants will take 30 years, and a complete clean up of the radioactive contamination is simply not possible.

Since the nuclear disaster, 70% of Japanese oppose the use of nuclear power, and the implementation of new safety standards means that now only 10 of the 54 nuclear reactors in Japan are functioning.  The full presentation is here.

Arne Jungjohann then spoke about Germany’s Green Energy Transition. This discussed how the ongoing effects from Chernobyl and the new risk assesment necessary after the Fukushima disaster were factors in Germany deciding to phase out nuclear power, and also described how nuclear power will be replaced with renewable energy sources.  The full presentation is here.

Michaele Schreyer’s experience as a EU commissioner meant that some fascinating insights into plan in the European Union.  By 2020, the EU should generate 37% of its electricity mix from renewable sources.  This is not a vague target, but rather a binding comittment, and progress towards it will be monitored continuously until 2020.  The full presentation is here.

Arne Jungjohann, Michaele Schreyer, Kimiko Hirata, and Peter Becker

After the presentations, questions were invited from the floor and the discussion was facilitated by Peter Becker, of the Cape Town based organisation Koeberg Alert Alliance.

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