The next block to be set up is Block B in Gundremmingen, Bavaria. “With the support of the population, renewable energies are now producing more electricity than ever before,” explains Philipp Vohrer, Director General of the Renewable Energy Agency (EEA), during the nuclear disaster in Japan on 11 March in Fukushima. “But a new dynamic of expansion of renewable energies is needed so that they can replace not only nuclear energy, but also fossil fuels, which are increasingly harmful to the climate.

The development of energy production to date shows that the accelerated growth of renewable energies will also be necessary in the coming years. Renewable energy production increased from 104 TWh in 2010 to more than 188 TWh the previous year. This 84 TWh increase corresponds approximately to last year’s nuclear power production. “If we want to achieve our climate change targets, we must not slow down the growth of renewable energy now, but rather accelerate it. We also need greater flexibility in the energy system and greater efficiency. This benefits people, the economy and the environment and saves us a lot of economic pressure,” said Vohrer.

According to studies, the public financing of nuclear energy in Germany from 1970 to 2014 resulted in heavy costs for the State, amounting to about €219 billion. The remaining costs incurred by the taxpayer for final disposal are not even taken into account here. Subsidies for coal have been even higher in recent decades: researchers have calculated that public funds amount to more than 421 billion euros for brown coal and lignite. Fossil and nuclear power generation is also subject to “perpetual loads”, which means that coal and nuclear power continue to incur huge costs for taxpayers long after production has ceased. In comparison, in 2014, renewable energy funds amounted to €102 billion, mainly for feed-in tariffs. Thanks to the promotion of technology, these injection volumes have since decreased significantly.

Renewable energies instead of nuclear energy help Europe take the decisive step towards the future

Despite its risks and costs, nuclear energy continues to be heavily subsidised in the various EU Member States. For example, the European Commission only approved Hungarian state aid for two new major reactors on the Danube at the beginning of this week. Russia is heavily involved in the project as a donor. In the United Kingdom, Chinese state investors are involved in projects to build the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in the United Kingdom. At the same time, large nuclear companies such as the French company Areva or the nuclear division of the Japanese conglomerate Toshiba are heavily indebted. Business problems amount to billions of dollars, not only for taxpayers, but also for the private sector threatened by nuclear energy,” Vohrer said.