In the annals of bad arguments, this is one of our favorites:
Germany's newly elected government could hinder the expansion of renewable energy in the country with its plans to extend the lifetime of nuclear reactors, warns the German Renewable Energy Federation.
Well, yes, it could do that, but we rather suspect Germany, like the United States, will look at the broad range of solutions and start implementing them. Germany’s nuclear plants may well be joined by wind farms, solar panel parks (well, maybe – Germany may not be the right territory for solar energy) and even additional nuclear units.
“A lifetime extension of the nuclear plants would slow, if not completely halt, the expansion of renewable energy in Germany,” said BEE spokesman Daniel Kluge. “There’s a simple reason for this: We have more and more renewable energy companies generating and delivering more and more electricity. So letting nuclear reactors stay on the grid longer will only lead to congestion, with too many companies generating too much electricity.” Kluge and others in the industry worry that renewable energy upstarts could be the ones bumped aside.
We’ll let you have this one. This feels more panicky than practical. After the impact of the election settles in, we suspect Mr. Kluge will work this out more fully.
As you may know, the United Arab Emirates has a treaty pending in the U.S. Congress that would allow nuclear trade to flow to and from that country. (UAE is a conglomeration of 7 emirates – a bit more like the EU in structure than the USA – but most have tiny populations and a lot of desert territory – you’ll usually hear about Abu Dhabi and Dubai when you hear about UAE). Congress may not do anything, which allows the treaty to gain force at the end of October or may object to it. A bit of skittishness seems to be the most controversy that this treaty has generated so far.
Anyway, UAE is steaming right ahead:
Federal Law No. 6, which was issued by U.A.E. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, establishes the independent Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation to oversee the country's nuclear energy sector, and appoints the regulator's board.
It also reiterates the U.A.E.'s pledge not to domestically enrich uranium as part of its plans to build nuclear power plants, the first of which is slated for commercial operation in 2017. The law makes it illegal to develop, construct or operate uranium enrichment or spent fuel processing facilities within the country's borders.
That’s pretty good. More, please.
It also brings into effect parts of the nuclear-energy program outlined in a policy paper in April 2008, in which the U.A.E. outlined its interest in building nuclear power plants to meet soaring electricity demand and pledged to adopt all required international agreements for a peaceful nuclear energy program.
The policy paper outlined six points on operational transparency, commitment to nonproliferation, safety and security standards, cooperation with the IAEA, cooperation with international governments and organizations, and long-term sustainability.
So far, the UAE hasn’t set a foot wrong. It wants nuclear energy, it wants to do it in an internationally accepted way, it wants to partner with the United States. So far, so good.
UAE, especially Dubai, certainly doesn’t lack for interesting buildings. Must be an architect’s dream destination.