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UAE Set to Start First Nuclear Plant; Sweden, Germany Shut Units via Power

The first nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reportedly will come online in early 2020. The report comes one day after Sweden on Dec. 30 shut down one of four reactors at the nation’s largest nuclear plant, closing Unit 2 at the Ringhals facility after more than 40 years of operation.

Germany also shut down the Philippsburg nuclear plant on Tuesday, part of that country’s planned phase-out of nuclear power by year-end 2022. The plant’s operating license was set to expire at midnight Central European Time on Tuesday.

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Ringhals 1 Also Set for Closure
Swedish news agency TT on Monday said Vattenfall, the Swedish state-owned utility group, and German utility Uniper finalized the permanent closure of the 852-MW Ringhals 2 reactor. The two groups had said in 2015 they planned to close the unit, citing rising maintenance costs and profitability concerns.

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‘Energy Transition’ Plan in Germany
The German government’s “energy transition” plan, known as Energiewende and designed to make the country carbon-neutral by 2050, calls for the country to replace thermal power generation, including output from coal, nuclear, and natural gas plants, with renewable energy over the next several years. The plan includes the closure of all the country’s nuclear reactors—there are six nuclear plants still in service—by year-end 2022, and lawmakers earlier this year said the country would end all coal-fired power output by 2038 at the latest.

Opponents of the plan have said removing thermal generation will endanger the country’s energy security and make it reliant on imported power from neighboring countries, including those with nuclear, coal, and gas plants.

The Fraunhofer Institute, a German research organization, said renewable energy including solar and wind accounted for more than 47% of Germany’s power consumption in the first half of 2019.

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