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Austria to go 100 percent nuclear-free

This month, Austria went ahead with its plans to ban imports of nuclear power to the country. Electricity is to be labeled to ensure that no power from nuclear reactors is purchased from abroad. The EU is not pleased about the move, which has gone practically unnoticed in reports in English.

In a press release (in German) from July 4, the Austrian Parliament announced the adoption of a ban on nuclear power imports to the country. The policy decision was announced more than a year ago but has only now been made law.

Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner was quick to relativize the matter, however, arguing that Austria has merely implemented mandatory labels on all sources of electricity, including pumped storage, though he admits that, in practice, imports of nuclear power have effectively been banned. Basically, all Austrian power providers have pledged to refrain from purchasing nuclear power from abroad, and starting in 2015 all power will have to be labeled. According to a report at Der Spiegel (in German), imports of mixed origin – only some of which is nuclear – currently make up almost 14 percent of Austria's power supply.

Critics have charged that the labeling itself is impossible because individual electrons cannot be traced back to a source, as the Wall Street Journal argued a few years ago. Yet, at the time, Germany already had its power labeled, which seems to have escaped experts at the most prominent economic daily in the US. Power purchase agreements are signed between entities, so it is generally possible to know what your power mix is.

Austrian politicians are being especially careful in their formulations because the EU may challenge the policy as unfairly affecting foreign power providers. Austria does not have any nuclear plants itself, so essentially the country has now decided to ban a particular product made within the EU.

There has practically been no reporting on this issue in English, perhaps because the EU has yet to respond. Nonetheless, Der Spiegel quotes are European Commission spokesperson saying, "there must not be any limits on legally generated power within the EU." It seems that an open conflict with Austria is only a matter of time. The newsweekly also says it is unlikely that Germany will follow Austria's example. (Craig Morris)

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11 Comments on "Austria to go 100 percent nuclear-free "

  1. heinbloed - 31.07.2013, 01:31 Uhr (Report comment)

    Just fresh in the news:
    Austria's largest electricity trader reduces electricity price for households by 10%

    http://kurier.at/wirtschaft/marktplatz/verbund-der-preiskampf-ist-eroeffnet-strom-wird-jetzt-billiger/21.128.584 ------------------------------------
    Household energy costs increased by 46% from 2009-2012. Electricity prices increased by 0.9% from 2011 to 2012:

    http://kurier.at/wirtschaft/marktplatz/energiekosten-anstieg-um-46-prozent-seit-2009/4.722.095 ----------
    Due to the very cold and long winter 2012/13 the total energy consumption in Austria increased by 1% when compared to the previous winter

    Some 2012 numbers: Coal - 19%, oil -2%, gas +5%, waste to energy +7%, renewables +1%

  2. photomofo - 29.07.2013, 06:35 Uhr (Report comment)

    jmdesp... Are you in Austria?

  3. heinbloed - 26.07.2013, 15:31 Uhr (Report comment)

    jmsdp wrote:
    " Next step is we ban Austria from exporting coal electricity ? "
    There is no coal generated electricity exported from Austria. Austria is net-importer.
    Please no more rubbish comments, jmdesp !

  4. heinbloed - 26.07.2013, 15:27 Uhr (Report comment)

    jmsdep seems to live far out somewhere:
    Austria needs no atomic power, the total of atomic electricity they are using does not justify an atomic power plant. Hence the Zwentendorf atomic power plant (incl. the cables) is now a PV-power plant.
    Hence the atomic Mafia did not manage to get the atomic power plant in Zwentendorf connected to the grid. The people realised the high costs of something useless, the risk involved and the anti-democratic impact monopolies have on society.
    The demand of coal power generated electricity is somewhere similar, hardly worth mentioning it.
    Here the electricity mix of Austria (2010):
    3.9% atomic electricity 3.2 % coal electricity ..... ..... 67.4% renewables
    The target is 100% renewable electricity.

    From http://www.oekoenergie-blog.at/2013/07/osterreich-atomstromfrei-ab-2015-aber-wir-haben-doch-gar-keinen-atomstrom/

  5. jmdesp - 25.07.2013, 00:18 Uhr (Report comment)

    @heinbloed : You seem not to have properly read the data at wikipedia. The Zwentendorf and Dürnrohr plant are on the two opposite side of the small town of Zwentendorf, with only 4 km between them, they are using the same high tension power line that was built for the NPP, as that small town wouldn't have needed it otherwise. And Dürnrohr is now the largest or second largest carbon emitter in Austria, depending on the year http://carma.org/dig/show/country+2782113+plant
    Yes, it was not built directly after the NPP was canceled, that can be explained by the fact some other smaller project have been built in between to make ends meet like the Mellach unit which Carma tells us has a 935 carbon intensity. This is written black on white by Verbund : http://www.verbund.com/pp/en/thermal-power-plant/mellach-district-heating-plant "The most important factor determining the planning of Mellach district heating power plant was the phasing out of nuclear power following the referendum" The fun thing is that Mellach unit was supposed to be replaced by gas unit recently, but that one is now being mothballed so the coal one continues http://derstandard.at/1371169523143/Verbund-Gaskraftwerke-am-Pruefstand District heating can be done from a nuclear plant just as well as from a coal one, and Russia is doing it for 11.4 PJ (2005 number). What's blocks it usually is the distance, not any technological problem. The 30km here are more than is economical in many case.
    Flooding has never caused a meltdown, as shown by Fort Calhoun, and a 13 meter high tsunami didn't cause one at Onagawa or Fukushima 2, it took a 16 meter high one at Fukushima 1, and also, despite their courage, the ineptitude of the people of Tepco who didn't call for help to get some diesel generating sets and an airlift of fresh water tanks sent by helicopter (just the water throughput of a fire truck would have been enough to cool them, with around 5l/s needed from the second day).
    But the important point is that Dürnrohr causes the death of around 100 people each year trough it's air pollution according to the data in this document http://www.env-health.org/IMG/pdf/heal_report_the_unpaid_health_bill_how_coal_power_plants_make_us_sick_final.pdf (24 death/TWh), maybe a little less if we consider it doesn't burn coal all the time, but still many, many times more than the radiation of Fukushima will cause with 6 reactors, and a lot more electricity generated.
    A last point is that pro-renewable frequently seem to consider nuclear is the enemy, just like if the situation would be much better if nobody anymore would defend it. But when you compare the money spend every year in the world for new renewable is around 10 time more that the one for nuclear (according the IEA report). So it's seems the opposition is actually based on no good reason.

  6. heinbloed - 24.07.2013, 22:52 Uhr (Report comment)

    Sorry for the long link concerning the flooding in Zwentendorf, here a shorter one directly:
    " The new Zwentendorf power plant - that is what they use the old cables for - was protected however:
    http://www.ff-zwentendorf.at/fotos/2013/20130603_TE_Hochwasser_in_Zwentendorf/08925bd4289ea4b1e2eecfe161d736bf1678e9f0.jpg "

  7. sue Q - 24.07.2013, 19:03 Uhr (Report comment)

    If you want to use 100% renewable you need to look at time of use
    See www.EnergyElephant.com for details of when electricity is GREENEST in Ireland (the home of GREEN)

  8. heinbloed - 24.07.2013, 18:19 Uhr (Report comment)

    All right, jsmdesp, the Zwentendorf issue is a complex one, all in foreign language about foreign issues like safety and intermittent suply and the like.
    So I try it.
    The atomic power plant Zwentendorf - which never deliverd a kWh of electricity- was converted into a training center, to train the melt down. For international atomic safety training .....
    As we all know flooding can cause an atomic melt down......
    The latest flooding in Zwentendorf happened to be at the 8th of June 2013.
    Except for 365 men of fire brigade and helpers there was no one to protect Zwentendorf and the atomic power plant.
    Here the report from the fire brigade:


    Here an aerial picture of the atomic power plant:

    The communists published it, the picture :)

    So with the flooding and the cooling pipes being blocked with debris and sludge from the river Zwentendorf would have been a pretty good exercising field for the international atomic Mafia. They could have trained the worst case scenario - an atomic power plant without cooling. But they weren't there ...
    365 local men and women hauled sandbags to protect what they could.
    The new Zwentendorf power plant - that is what they use the old cables for - was protected however:


    It delivered electricity (hopefully!), despite the flooding:



    So, jmsdep, as you can see there are electricity generating technologies menkind can handle safely.
    And there are technologies for which menkind is simply not equipped. Intellectually, physically.
    Just think about the cables: where do they come from, where do they go, what do they transport and why-oh-why does the water not run up the river .....
    Turn it loud :)

  9. heinbloed - 24.07.2013, 17:35 Uhr (Report comment)

    @ jmdesp:
    Tell us what the former atomic power plant in Zwentendorf is doing now, what they use the cables for.
    The data is available for everyone (for free) at Wikipedia.

  10. heinbloed - 24.07.2013, 17:30 Uhr (Report comment)

    You're propably badly informed.
    The atomic power plant Zwentendorf was retired in 1978.
    The combustion power plant Dürnrohr went 10 years later on-line.
    It burns waste from the international market (shipped by train and ship) as well as gas and coal.
    It consists of three parts: steam generators for electricity production, CHP for distant heating and electricity production and a waste treatment dito.
    In Dürnrohr a research facility is working on the replacement of coal.
    All this data is available from Wikipedia.
    Austria hasn't banned the transport of atomic electricity. Only the consumption. Similar to heroin, crack and arms : once the transport is legal the transit is allowed.
    But not the consumption of these dangerous things within the state.

  11. jmdesp - 24.07.2013, 14:31 Uhr (Report comment)

    Next step is we ban Austria from exporting coal electricity ? Especially the Dürnrohr coal plant which they built as a direct replacement of the proposed Zwentendorf nuclear plant, reusing the power lines already built for it ?

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