Nuclear Power and Clean Energy

NPR News: California’s Last Nuclear Power Plant To Be Shut Down.

NPR All Things Considered: California To Close State’s Last Nuclear Power Plant.

I remember both the Chernobyl and the Fukushima nuclear disasters and have become much more wary about nuclear power since the latter happened. Japan uses the same kind of reactors that are used in German nuclear power plants, and the disaster there has shown that even if the core doesn’t melt down like it did in Chernobyl‘s graphite-moderated reactor, there’s still a lot that can go wrong even in a water-moderated reactor like the ones used in Japan and Germany (boiling water reactors, pressurized water reactors).

The German government ordered eight of the seventeen reactors to be shut down immediately after Fukushima, and the others will be shut down by the end of the year 2022 at the latest. A few kilometers from where I live is a nuclear power plant that I’ve visited with groups of students several times (in fact I just went two days ago), and while this is of course an interesting excursion, I won’t be sad to see it shut down by the end of 2018 at the latest.

I’m surprised that environmentalists count nuclear power as “clean” like solar and wind because no carbon dioxide is emitted, but what about the tons of radioactive waste? This is an unsolved probleme here in Germany, and I wonder about the situation in other industrial nations like the US, but also Japan or the rest of Europe. Has any country solved this problem for real?