Polish group calls on Germany to reverse nuclear phaseout

22 December 2020

Polish climate and environmental activists are asking Germany to reconsider its 2011 decision to phase out nuclear power. On 18 December, activists from the FOTA4Climate initiative submitted to the German embassy in Warsaw an open letter signed by Polish scientists, intellectuals, activists and citizens.

(Image: FOTA4Climate)

They argue that the climate emergency requires the continued operation of nuclear power plants in Germany and other countries "until effective, state-of-the-art technologies for the storage of electricity generated by renewables have been implemented".

"Abandoning low-carbon nuclear power before the complete end to the burning of hard coal and lignite will result in technical and technological problems that will be very difficult to overcome in the short time and will require the continued use of other fossil fuels, mainly natural gas," they said.

In December 2019, FOTA4Climate and its supporters from Germany protested against the closure of the then fully operational Philipsburg nuclear power plant.

In the letter, distributed by the Nuclear Energy Department of Poland's Ministry of Climate and Environment, they wrote: "We are aware of the on-going discussion on the place of nuclear energy in the long-term sustainable energy model and believe that it still needs to be complemented by complete scientific data. However, the abandonment of low-carbon nuclear energy before a complete shift away from coal and lignite combustion causes in the short term very difficult to overcome technical and technological problems, and leads to the need to use other fossil fuels, with natural gas at the forefront. This, in turn, does not give the expected results in the form of effective and rapid decarbonisation."

Citing the findings of scientists from around the world working within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, they wrote that only the rapid and effective elimination of the burning of fossil fuels offers a chance to maintain an increase in the Earth's atmospheric temperature of 1.5°C or slightly above this value.

"This is a prerequisite today for an acceptable future for billions of people," they wrote. "We therefore call for a reconsideration of the decision to abandon nuclear power in Germany, or to delay it until we completely move away from fossil fuels in the energy sector, and to implement efficient modern technologies for the storage of energy from renewable sources. This would speed up decarbonisation processes, also setting an example and hope for other countries in the world to make decisions about the future of their energy systems in the near future, and to decide their role in tackling adverse climate change and the degradation of the Earth's biosphere."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News