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Nuclear Headache: Task of Decommissioning Plants Is Herculean via Spiegel online

The dismantling of Germany’s nuclear power plants will be one of the greatest tasks of the century as the country moves to phase out atomic energy. It will take at least until 2080 to complete the job. But what happens if energy utility companies who own the facilities go bust before the work is done?

When politicians put far too much pathos into their speeches, people should be on their guard — with a notable exception. There is one issue where no comparison is overinflated and no superlative appears exaggerated: Winfried Kretschmann, for instance — the governor of the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg and a member of Germany’s Green Party — spoke of “theological timeframes” that now need to be decided upon.

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No Smooth Sailing

But it doesn’t look as if things will go smoothly. On the contrary, the phasing out of nuclear power is accompanied by the agonizing challenge of decommissioning existing reactors: Eight nuclear power plants that were rapidly taken offline at the behest of the German government in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster have to be dismantled concurrently, followed by an additional nine facilities by the end of 2022.

There is still no roadmap for the decommissioning. To make matters worse, critics say that they see initial indications of eroding safety standards for decommissioning licenses as authorities struggle to cope with the mountains of nuclear waste.

Read more at  Nuclear Headache: Task of Decommissioning Plants Is Herculean

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