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The destruction of German villages because of coal-mining.

  • 13-05-2022 1:07am
    Registered Users Posts: 3,882 ✭✭✭ political analyst

    I suspect that the destruction of many German villages in the past few years (There are news reports from various broadcasters on this issue going back as far as 2018 - at a glance!) to make way for open-cast coal mines has been triggered by Merkel's decision to phase-out nuclear power when she was Chancellor.

    I know that Germany cannot just stop using coal instantly but I'm puzzled as to why Merkel didn't consider the impact of her decision on nuclear power on ordinary German citizens' lives. I'm aware that she made the decision in the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown - even though Germany is not at risk of being hit by a tsunami.

    Why didn't the German political establishment follow the example of the use of nuclear power in Britain, where the coal-mining industry (before Thatcher decided that many mines were becoming unviable) originally brought about the creation, not destruction, of towns? One would have thought that the destruction of villages would be taboo in Germany, given the country's not-too-distant past.


  • Registered Users Posts: 72,113 ✭✭✭✭ Overheal

     I'm aware that she made the decision in the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown - even though Germany is not at risk of being hit by a tsunami.

    Fukushima was primarily the fault of human error, not God.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,278 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005

    In Britain, where the coal-mining industry (before Thatcher decided that many mines were becoming unviable) originally brought about the creation, not destruction, of towns? 

    Different type of mining in the UK to Germany. UK was shaft mining black coal, the German's are open cast mining brown coal/lignite which is more like our cutting turf than mining coal. The German's have been destroying and building towns and villages around their lignite mines for ages and their neighbours do the same, there's massive issues over new open cast mines for lignite in that part of Europe.

  • Registered Users Posts: 77,859 ✭✭✭✭ Victor

    German fears post-Fukushima relate to mid-level earthquakes, not a tsunami.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,841 ✭✭✭ plodder

    There was one image/video from Fukushima that I often wondered if that was what tipped public and government opinion in Germany against nuclear power. It was of a helicopter dropping what was basically a large bucket of water from a height in an attempt to cool the out of control reactor.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,882 ✭✭✭ political analyst

    The point is that the Fukushima disaster wouldn't have happened without the tsunami.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,882 ✭✭✭ political analyst

    Why do the Germans do coal-mining so much differently from how the British did it?

  • Posts: 0 Luca Sweet Smile

    Same reason regular old drilling is different to fracking and messing with tar sands.

  • Registered Users Posts: 72,113 ✭✭✭✭ Overheal

    Nor without human error. And not just from the backup power design, staff didn’t stick to protocol and TEPCO wasn’t blameless either

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,806 ✭✭✭ timmyntc

    Fukushima wouldnt have happened with the Tsunami had the reactor been better designed.

    Modern reactor designs will shut down the reaction should power & back up power be lost, a kind of air-brake on the plant, so no risk of 'uncontrolled releases of fission'

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,062 ✭✭✭ paul71

    UK = Deep coal deposits many millions of years old. Germany = surface or near surface lignite (brown coal) much younger deposits.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 12,188 Mod ✭✭✭✭ riffmongous

    They used to do the black coal shaft mining too, it's what the Ruhr was famous for. All closed down now though, just not economical

  • Registered Users Posts: 72,113 ✭✭✭✭ Overheal

    It could have been better designed but nonetheless, TEPCO et al. made liars out of people who were defending the situation as under control etc. and didn't disclose the scope of the problems or how not in control they were. The abilities of emergency response were irreparably hampered as a result. This human factor doesn't just exist by the coastline, German power company operators and German government authorities would be equally susceptible to trying to 'contain' panic and gloss over mistakes made etc.; You can use bleeding edge nuclear designs but Murphys Law still finds its way into the system.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,992 ✭✭✭✭ end of the road

    incorrect, no anti-nuclear hysteria was triggered either in germany or anywhere else.

    what was triggered was a re-examination on whether nuclear was actually worth continuing with given it's out of control expensivity vs the benefiit with the potential risks of it going wrong of course being examined.

    germany decided it was no longer worth the cost v other energy sources which are only a fraction of the cost, they could and possibly should have kept their existing plants on until life expirey but ultimately they decided to move on from a technology of a by-gone era.

    Protect the rights of the alcohol enjoyers of ireland. Remove all funding from alcohol action ireland now!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,192 ✭✭✭ Pa ElGrande

    There is the small problem of uranium supply . . .


    For Russian-made nuclear reactors in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, Bulgaria and Slovakia, there is no authorized nuclear fuel alternative to Russian supply. While Slovakia, for example, has said it has enough nuclear fuel to last through the end of 2023, a ban on Russian imports could be a problem down the road.

    “This is very concerning as we are 100 percent dependent on Russian nuclear fuel deliveries from the company TVEL,” said Karol Galek, Slovakia’s state secretary for energy in the Ministry of Finance.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,806 ✭✭✭ timmyntc

    Do what the French do and source it all from Africa

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,971 ✭✭✭ SeanW

    To be fair to Gerhard Schroeder, he has finally stepped down from the board of the Russian oil company Rosneft. Too bad that him and his fellow travelers in Russia and the so-called "Green" movements did so much damage to European energy security, needlessly making us more reliant on Russian fossil fuel imports than we otherwise would have been.

    As to Fukushima, much of the blame lies with TEPCO. The plant was built out of specification with the reactor manufacturers recommendations (put the diesel generators in a place where they could be flooded instead of somewhere secure). They also built a sea-wall around Fukushima that would have handled a 10 meter tsunami, and while the 2011 earthquake generated a 10 meter wave, it also lowered the land in the area 1 meter lower to sea level.

    It's important to note that Japan has many nuclear reactors along its Pacific coast and none of those other than Fukushima suffered meltdowns. They were built properly.

    As to uranium supply, Russia is not the only source. Canada and Australia sell it (just two examples) and uranium extraction from seawater is also a possibility today, if and when needed.

    It should be noted that a number of energy companies thought that Ireland had significant uranium reserves, but Eamon Ryan banned all uranium exploration and mining in Ireland, because ... reasons. So you cannot claim that Ireland has no domestic supply.