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IEA Denounces German Government's
Anti-Nuclear Power Drive

May 24, 2011 (EIRNS)—Germany is threatening European energy security by pressing ahead with its plan to drop nuclear power, International Energy Agency (IEA) director Nobuo Tanaka warned yesterday. Because Europe's energy market is increasingly connected, the German policy decision affects the entire continent, Tanaka said in an interview with the Financial Times Deutschland. Berlin should instead work on a joint decision on nuclear power with its European partners, he said. "It is not about a German problem; it is about a European problem. Otherwise, sustainability and supply security are sacrificed in the whole of Europe," said the head of the IEA, which has headquarters in Paris and advises 28 industrialized countries on energy security.

Tanaka said Germany's national energy security will suffer if it decides to shut down reactors. "The dependency on other resources," such as coal and gas, "will increase," he said. Dropping nuclear power, he warned, would also lead to higher power prices.

Four German grid operators also warned Merkel yesterday that her intent to keep the seven older reactors, which account for a combined capacity of 8,000 megawatts of power, permanently shut beyond the current three-month moratorium which expires on June 17, could lead to widespread blackouts this coming winter. Days with little sun and low winds could lead to outages, particularly in Germany's industry-heavy southern states, grid operators warned. "A safe supply to customers in these cases could be severely compromised," they noted.

Only four of Germany's 17 reactors are currently producing power, with seven shut down because of the moratorium, another five undergoing maintenance, and yet another one shut down since the summer of 2009.