Germany [in]famously moved to phase out nuclear energy following the atomic disaster in Japan last spring. Now states in the country are skeptically eyeing plans in neighboring countries, including the Netherlands and Poland, to construct nuclear power plants.
Nuclear Nimbyism: Germans Oppose New Plants Next Door
They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when it comes to nuclear power plants, German anti-nuclear activists are finding they’re too close for comfort.
Less than a year after securing the rapid phaseout of nuclear plants in Germany, citizens concerned about nuclear safety are facing the unwholesome prospect of new plants popping up just over the border in neighboring countries. But they aren’t letting it happen without a fight.
After Poland announced several possible locations for new reactors, including one less than 150 kilometers (93 miles) from the German border, German citizens flooded the Polish government with letters objecting to the plans. Environmental groups claim that a week ago Wednesday alone, the last day of the comment period, opponents of the plans submitted 50,000 objections.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government also submitted a statement, as did Anita Tack, a Left Party member and the environment minister of the state of Brandenburg, which is home to the majority of Germany’s shared border with Poland.
“It is incomprehensible to me that our Polish neighbors still want to stick to their plans after the Fukushima disaster,” Tack wrote in a letter to the Polish Economics Ministry last month. “Brandenburg has been against the use of nuclear power from the start,” Tack noted.
A spokeswoman for the ministry, Alrun Kaune-Nüsslein, told SPIEGEL ONLINE the letter had been written in order to send a political message and to raise awareness among citizens. “A change in the original plans can only be achieved through a change of opinion among Polish decision-makers.”
Poland is not the only source of German concern. On Tuesday, the governing coalition of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia — comprised of the center-left Social Democrats and the Green Party — announced its intention to object formally to the construction of a new nuclear reactor in neighboring Holland.
The proposed Borssele II plant would be located 180 kilometers from the North Rhine-Westphalia border. Environment Minister Johannes Remmel of the Greens said the plant posed “indefensible risks,” and the state government intends to urge the Netherlands to undertake an “intensive investigation of alternatives.” (Spiegel)