The Nuclear Option

Don’t blame me, blame Alex for this, since he’s the one who started me thinking about all those other issues associated with the German elections – apart that is from the economic ones. Like this in today’s FT:

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time. ….Last week, she (Angela Merkel) named Heinrich von Pierer, a former Siemens chief executive, her chief economic advisor. The fresh faces, it was thought, would add energy and credibility to her bid for the top job….(but)…Mr von Pierer sparked his own media firestorm when he called for an extension of the life of nuclear power stations by 60 years.

I may be slow, but the implications of this didn’t really sink-in till I read in the EU observer that:

“Brussels predicts that oil prices will stay high in the foreseeable future and that the EU will need to build more nuclear reactors..”I expect investments in the nuclear sector in Europe, and in the rest of the world, will grow”, the commissioner (Andris Piebalgs) said.

Well, no wonder the greens are fuming.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

4 thoughts on “The Nuclear Option

  1. This is odd because in the EU 5-point plan in reaction to the high oil prices. Nuclear isn’t mentioned at all when it comes to (II):

    http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/05/302&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

    “increasing Reliance on alternative Energy”

    Commissioner Piebalgs will

    (i) table a biomass Action Plan before the end of the year,

    (ii) press strongly for an increase in research on wind, wave and solar, hydrogen, clean coal and carbon sequestration in the context of the FP7,

    (iii) table a Communication on bio-fuels in early 2006 and

    (iv) in 2005, table a Communication on the financial support schemes of renewable energy sources in the different Member States. ”

    Biomass is the answer!? I’m glad Piebold does see room for nuclear energy by why isn’t it mentioned as a research option in the five point plan then. Too scared to upset the general public and the greens?

  2. Because this is plainly propaganda. The member states will not let the EU take over this vital area.
    Can you imagine how the governments would clash on this? So the EU is playing it safely with just spending on research and biofuel, which is another way of saying that they are looking for something to replace the CAP with.

  3. Interesting. I think Oliver is basically right. Msnbc in it’s report of Piebalg’s speech mentions the nuclear statement but EUPolitix carefully avoids reference.

    So the lesson seems to be: be careful what you read!

  4. but, under the EURATOM treaty, the EU has a specific competency on some nuclear matters (specifically jumping up and down and shouting “Our Friend, the Atom!”). They’d better be either fast-breeders or thorium ones, though…

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