Newsletter XVI 2024

April 14-20 

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2015 2014 2013 2012 2011

Current news+ Background knowledge

The PDF file "Nuclear Power Accidents" contains a number of other incidents from various areas of the nuclear industry. Some of the events were never published through official channels, so this information could only be made available to the public in a roundabout way. The list of incidents in the PDF file is therefore not 100 % identical with "INES and the disturbances in nuclear facilities", but represents an addition.

3 April 1960 (INES 4) NPP WTR-2 reactor, Waltz Mill, USA

6 April 1993 (INES 4 | NAMS 4,8) Nuclear factory Tomsk 7, RUS

7 April 1989 (Broken ArrowSubmarine K-278 Komsomolets sunk south of Bear Island, USSR

8 April 1968 (Broken ArrowSubmarine K-129 sunk 2900 km nw Hawaii, USSR

10 April 2003 (INES 3 | NAMS 3,9) NPP Paks, HUN

April 10th to May 15st, 1967 (INES ? Class.?Nuclear factory Mayak, USSR

10 April 1963 USS Thresher Submarine SSN-593 sunk 350 km off Cape Cod, USA

April 11-12, 1970 (Broken ArrowSubmarine K-8 sunk in Bay of Biscay, USSR

19 April 2005 (INES 3) Nuclear factory Windscale/Sellafield, GBR

21 April 1957 (INES 4) Nuclear factory Mayak, USSR

26 April 1986 (INES 7 | NAMS 8) NPP Chernobyl, USSR

28 April 2011 (INES ? Class.?) NPP Asco, ESP

 

We are always looking for up-to-date information. Anyone who can help, please send a message to:
nuclear-world@reaktorpleite.de

 


20. April


 

LawsuitLegal entityEnvironmental law

“Should rivers be able to sue, Ms. Zenetti?”

Corporations can go to court in Germany, but not rivers, forests or animals? Lawyer Jula Zenetti from the Helmholtz Center Leipzig asks whether this is still appropriate.

SPIEGEL: Can rivers complain, Ms. Zenetti?

Zenetti: Not in Germany yet. In Spain, a lagoon has been declared a legal entity, the Mar Menor. In the USA, a type of rice that is sacred to the indigenous people has been brought to court in a community called Manoomin. In Ecuador, a cloud forest under which raw materials were to be mined sued in court against its deforestation and won. And indigenous peoples of several Pacific nations have recently granted legal entity status to whales.
Whales have their own rights

SPIEGEL: A type of rice is suing in court - that sounds strange at first.

Zenetti: It's unusual. But if you consider that corporations are also legal entities, then it no longer sounds so absurd.

SPIEGEL: In Germany and also in the EU, environmental law primarily regulates state obligations towards the environment. What's the point of giving nature its own rights?

Zenetti: The state goal of environmental protection could also be regulated as nature's right to its preservation and existence. Subjective rights are a legal tool to strengthen the interests of legal entities over the general interest. And this legal tool of subjective rights has proven extremely effective over the past centuries. Why should we use it for corporations – a collection of money – but not for nature? We should ask ourselves whether this is still relevant...

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Hitler's birthday | DemocracySmall talk

How the right-wing is changing society:

“Yes, on April 20th”

When it comes to small talk with strangers, the presumption of innocence is gone. We quickly check where they stand politically.

Recently on a sunlit park bench in front of the town hall of a village in the Black Forest: a woman sits down. Her knees hurt. Actually, an operation is due, but she doesn't want to, she would have to lose weight and she is no longer the youngest. I ask what year she is. 1954. "Then you'll be seventy." She: "Yes, on April 20th." I immediately: "On Hitler's birthday." She: "Leave me alone, I have nothing to do with him." I won't relaxed. “More and more people want to have something to do with it again.” “It’s bad,” she says, “but I can’t do anything about the day I was born.”

Everyday conversations are actually spontaneous and non-hierarchical. But not anymore

I intentionally used her date of birth to check where she stands politically. Only then can I talk to her freely. I am often in the village and will probably run into her again.

If five people stand together, statistically one will vote for the AfD, and in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, according to surveys, even one in three will vote. That is the starting point. When I talk to strangers, I want to know who I'm dealing with. Because that influences the progress of the conversation. And that's the crux of the matter, because everyday conversations are actually spontaneous and non-hierarchical. Recently, however, not anymore. Because if you first want (or have to) find out where the other person stands politically, you are breaking the tacit rules of small talk.

[...] Something has changed, it has crept into our everyday behavior unnoticed, like a thief breaking in at night. And the loss that threatens is already looming. Like recently at a demonstration against the right in Neuruppin: A friend we accompanied there handed out stickers that quoted Erich Kästner, who warned that dictatorships can only be fought as long as they are not in power. “Can I give this to you?” my friend asks a viewer. “Oh, leave me alone about your democracy,” she replies.

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Bangladesh | Energy companiesTextile factories

Bangladesh: An overpowered autocracy

Fossil power plants, a nuclear power plant and cheap clothing: German companies, Indian, Chinese, Russian and US companies benefit from this. But what is happening to the country? Report.

"No. The 740-hectare Rampal coal-fired power plant is not in, but exactly on the line of the protection zone for the (mangrove forests) of the Sundarbans," was the sober answer of 31-year-old Kaniz Rabeya in the rooms of Clean. The non-governmental organization, which collects energy data among other things, has an office in the city of Khulna, in southern Bangladesh.

"Yes. The gas depots, refineries, construction companies, cement factories and textile factories that you saw are in the protection zone. But they are also in the EPZ-Mongla, a special export zone."

I pause, but she continues talking unmoved:

"According to fishermen, fish and shrimp catches have declined sharply since the power plant came into operation - it releases hot wastewater into the Rupsa River. According to fishermen, no fish at all is caught within a three-kilometer radius."

Then Rabeya emphasizes in the same matter-of-fact tone that she is not a biologist. As a justification for the many power plants, the government has repeatedly pointed out that electricity is needed to lead the residents and industry into a better age.

"We currently have a capacity of all power plants in the country of almost 26.000 MW. In June 2024, this is expected to rise to 30.000 MW. Consumption at peak times in summer 2023 was 15.164 MW and in winter it was 10.733 MW,"

Rabeya says unmoved. Astonished, I ask if Bangladesh is now selling electricity to India, but she says:

"No, we also buy electricity from India. More precisely from Gautam Adani. His electricity is 56 percent more expensive than export electricity, 56 percent more expensive than our solar power and 191 percent more expensive than Indian solar power (around 2,5 cents)."

When I ask why, I get the same impassive look.

"I'm not an economic expert, I collect data."

According to them, the need for industrial electricity has also been declining in recent years.

Hāsinā transformation: The prisons are filling up

Rabeya's caution is not surprising. Since 2008, Bangladesh's Prime Minister, 76-year-old Śekha Hāsinā, and her political party Awami League have transformed the country into a (moderate) autocracy, according to the Democracy Index...

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Climate Protection ActSolar package | Wissing

Reform of the climate protection law:

One step forward, two backward

It's good that installing private solar systems will become easier. The bad news is that the traffic light weakens the climate protection law.

First, the traffic light parties argued about it for many months, now it's going hop, hop: On Monday, the parliamentary group leaders of the SPD, Greens and FDP announced the agreement on changing the climate protection law and the solar package, and the following week both should be passed by the Bundestag and the Federal Council will be whipped. As with the Heating Act, it is once again not clear to the traffic light that internal negotiations in no way replace the usual parliamentary procedure.

After all, large parts of the solar package are a great achievement. Countless private individuals and companies are waiting for the reduction in bureaucracy in order to have a photovoltaic system installed and connected more easily. The installation of solar systems is booming, despite the previous blockade. Citizens from all political camps want to use solar energy much more after previous governments made it difficult for them to do so.

If obstacles such as long approval processes are removed, there will be a big boost and the energy transition will accelerate. This will soon be seen on roofs, over supermarket parking lots and in many other places. Tenants of a house can easily share a common area. This will be cheaper because there are no requirements for expensive technology. Registration requirements and network connection are simplified – and much more.

But despite all the cheers: the solar package also has a major drawback. After Russia's attack on Ukraine, there seemed to be a social consensus that dependence on one country for energy issues is fatal. That's it. This time it's about China, which is flooding the European markets with its solar systems and putting local manufacturers in distress. Local solar system manufacturers have already had to give up due to wrong political decisions.

[...] Until now, if the goals are not achieved, adjustments must be made. Not anymore. The emissions from the different areas will be offset against each other in the future. This softening is a gift to Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP), who is making no move to do anything to reduce CO2 emissions in transport.

Reducing emissions would certainly be achievable, for example with a speed limit, cheaper train prices or partial driving restrictions for particularly emission-intensive cars. Now there is no pressure on Wissing to develop at least a little imagination and even worry about reducing CO2 emissions in transport...

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Indiaautocracy | Fascism

Modi Fascism: India's Most Unfair Elections in its History

Press censorship, opposition behind bars. India, hailed as the “largest democracy in the world,” follows the logic of autocracy. A look behind the facade.

Delhi. The Lok Sabha (lower house) elections in India have begun and will last until June 1st. There is a lot at stake in the world's most populous country since 2023, which recently surprised technologically with its moon landing (only the fourth nation) and whose GDP has now moved up to fifth place behind China, the USA, Germany and Japan.

The Western media's ignorance of Indian domestic politics is disproportionate to the importance of the emerging superpower India.

[...] While many journalists continue to stereotypically praise India as the "largest democracy in the world", human rights activists like Ramachandra Guha see it long on the way to autocracy. But the situation is perhaps far worse: many things are now reminiscent of the Jakarta method in the Indonesian Genocide of 1964/65. Is there a threat of violent unrest and mass murder of minorities and political opponents?

Minorities are harassed

Minorities, especially India's approximately 200 million Muslims, are increasingly discriminated against and terrorized by Modi's policies, such as the ban on cow slaughter, largely unnoticed by Western media. A laudable exception are reports by Deutschlandfunk (DLF) about the persecution of often Muslim farmers by Hindus defending sacred cows (e.g. Petersmann 2016).

However, the DLF largely avoids any political background, preferring to concentrate on the bizarre worship of cows and the suffering of the families of murder victims.

[...] Terror and financial war

There were at least 2.000 mostly Muslim deaths, countless rapes, destruction of around 270 mosques and Islamic shrines, looting of thousands of Muslim businesses and displacement of an estimated 150.000 people.

Modi downplayed the wave of violence as “justified popular anger.” But the organized action of the violent groups and the inaction of the police "suggested to many observers that the attacks had been planned in advance" (said Gottschlich 2018) - which also brings to mind the Jakarta method, which relies on hatred and pogroms to combat fascist ones promote regime.

But in addition to violence, the BJP has so far mainly relied on law-fare and financial terror.

India's largest opposition party, the Congress Party, is currently complaining that the central tax authority has frozen millions of dollars in its bank accounts. A serious intervention in democracy in the middle of the election campaign...

 


19. April


 

FarmersPesticides | Parkinson

Occupational disease in farmers: Pesticides cause Parkinson's disease

The Medical Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs has decided that Parkinson's disease following the use of pesticides can constitute an occupational disease. NDR.de spoke about this with the chairman of the advisory board, the occupational medicine specialist Prof. Thomas Kraus.

Prof. Kraus, it took twelve years until it was recognized as an occupational disease. Why so long?

Thomas Kraus: We have known for a very long time that there are connections between pesticide exposure at work and Parkinson's disease. But it was extremely difficult to evaluate and process the scientific literature from around the world and then derive criteria for an occupational disease for German social law.

In France, Parkinson's has been recognized as an occupational disease since 2012. Italy was also faster. Did they invest more in research, or why did it happen faster there?

Kraus: Occupational diseases are sometimes defined differently, and that makes it easier. We have high social legal hurdles in Germany. And we all work on a voluntary basis in the Medical Expert Advisory Board. We saw for ourselves that things were progressing too slowly. That's why the law has now been changed and we have a scientific office. We hope that this will enable us to make future decisions regarding the recognition of occupational diseases more quickly.

When we think of pesticides, we immediately think of glyphosate, whose approval has just been extended in Europe despite many protests. There are large manufacturing companies behind glyphosate and other pesticides. Did these companies or their lobbyists try to prevent a decision?

Kraus: No, there was no influence from the manufacturers...

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Coal exit | Lützerath | Brown coal

According to the analysis, NRW needs much less lignite than the government expected

In order for Germany to have enough electricity, more brown coal must be burned in the short term - it was said in politics in the winter of 2022/2023. But things turned out completely differently, shows a new analysis.

Since the compromise on the early phase-out of coal between the state, federal government and RWE, significantly less lignite has been needed to generate electricity than the state government had assumed. In the coming years, coal demand will probably be well below politicians' expectations. This is the result of a current analysis by the economic research company Prognos, which is available to WDR. The Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) NRW commissioned the study.

[...] What is particularly interesting is that this decline is continuing. Brown coal power generation in January and February 2024 is around 30 percent lower than in the same months in 2023. In 2024, the bottom line is that production will now be “probably 4-12 TWh lower than expected,” writes Prognos in the paper. The state government had assumed at least 2024 terawatt hours of gross electricity generation in the Garzweiler power plants in 32,6. Prognos expects an actual production of around 24 terawatt hours.

[...] Wrong assumptions had significant consequences

The fact that the state and federal governments adopted these false assumptions had significant consequences: They therefore released the former village of Lützerath for RWE to excavate. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated against this in January 2023; The evacuation of the town required one of the largest police operations in the country's history...

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IsraelPropaganda | Gaza

Dispute at meetings in Israel

Baerbock and Netanyahu clash violently

"We are not like the Nazis": During Foreign Minister Baerbock's visit to Israel, a heated argument with Prime Minister Netanyahu is said to have taken place behind closed doors. The trigger was images from the Gaza Strip.

According to Israeli news channel Channel 13, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued heatedly over footage from the Gaza Strip that Netanyahu showed during the conversation in Jerusalem.

It is said to have shown that there was enough food in the markets in the Gaza Strip. The Prime Minister apparently wanted to use the recordings to prove that the conditions in the sealed-off coastal strip are not that dramatic. The Green politician then pointed out the hunger of the people in the coastal area and offered to show Netanyahu pictures of starving children on her cell phone. She expressed clear criticism, according to Channel 13.

[...] According to Channel 13, Netanyahu is said to have advised Baerbock that she should look at photos of the markets and also of people on the beach; there were no cases of hunger there. According to the report, Baerbock asked him not to show the pictures because they did not correspond to the reality in the Gaza Strip.

Israel's head of government, in turn, is said to have loudly replied that the photos were real and that Israel was not showing an invented reality like the Nazis. “We are not like the Nazis,” the head of government is said to have said literally. In 1942, the Nazis had a film crew make a propaganda film with staged scenes of everyday life in the Warsaw Ghetto. Baerbock is said to have then asked Netanyahu whether he wanted to say that doctors in the Gaza Strip and international media were not reporting the truth...
 

IMHO

"You shall not know them by their words, but by their deeds"

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United StatesPalestine | Veto

The two-state solution is officially dead

USA vetoes Palestine's UN membership in the Security Council. This makes Western commitments to the two-state solution unbelievable. A background.

The FAZ at least makes it worth a side note, but the Tagesschau completely omits the report: On April 18, 2024, the USA vetoed a draft resolution in the UN Security Council (UNSC) that envisages full membership of Palestine in the United Nations. The proposed resolution therefore failed.

Twelve member countries of the UNSC voted in favor of the bill, Switzerland and Great Britain abstained.

"The background is the government in Washington's fear that such a step would actually recognize a Palestinian state," writes the FAZ.

That sounds in the Statement from the US Mission at the United Nations is completely different: "The United States has strongly and decisively advocated for Palestinian statehood as part of a comprehensive peace agreement that would permanently resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," it says.

If possible, there should be no overt rejection of Palestinian statehood

People in Washington are well aware that this veto further undermines the credibility of their own lip service to the two-state solution. After all, an attempt was made to get around such a clear rejection of Palestinian statehood...

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Climate changeNatural gasCO2 | Greenwashing

According to CORRECTIV research: Gas suppliers are temporarily discontinuing “climate-neutral” gas tariffs

After CORRECTIV made public at the beginning of the week that 116 German gas suppliers were using CO2 credits from climate protection projects that cannot plausibly prove that CO2 was actually reduced or saved, more than 20 gas suppliers are now drawing conclusions. Criticism comes from the left in the Bundestag.

According to the latest CORRECTIV research, the first energy companies are adapting their offerings: In response to a CORRECTIV request, more than 20 gas suppliers, mainly municipal ones, said they were reviewing their climate-neutral or green gas tariffs or even wanted to temporarily discontinue them. These include EVD Energiebedarf Dormagen, Logo Energie based in North Rhine-Westphalia and other municipal utilities.

Municipal utilities are considering legal action

Stadtwerke Oberursel wants to go even further and is considering legal action, as the company tells CORRECTIV: “We are examining whether we should take legal action against our well-known service provider,” said the municipal utility. The certificates were “purchased to the best of our knowledge and belief”.

[...] Criticism of the gas suppliers and their business practices comes from Ralph Lenkert, chairman of the left in the Committee for Climate Protection and Energy in the Bundestag: "Compensations were introduced as a good, voluntary idea for climate protection." Gas companies turned it into a profitable business model, “It’s about money and not about climate protection,” Lenkert told CORRECTIV.

The Federal Association of Consumer Organizations reiterates its call to CORRECTIV for an explicit “ban on advertising with climate neutrality”. True climate neutrality “cannot be achieved at the product or company level.”

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AustriaRight-wing extremism | FPÖ

Explosive neo-Nazi connections surrounding raid on the Office for the Protection of the Constitution revealed

The neo-Nazi Gottfried Küssel is said to have invited the police head of the raid to an event, said the head of the extremism department at the time

It remains one of the central mysteries of the scandalous house search at the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in February 2018: Why was the office of Sibylle G., the then head of the extremism department, ransacked for hours even though the officer was not a suspect?

Last week, the right-wing extremism expert was questioned again in a U-committee; the preliminary minutes of her statements are available to STANDARD and the investigative podcast “Die Dunkelkammer”. The document shows that G. revealed to parliament an explosive connection between the repeatedly convicted neo-Nazi Gottfried Küssel and police colonel Wolfgang Preiszler, who led the raid on the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

[...] A printout of an email was found on G's desk in which Küssel had invited a few people to an event. Preiszler was also on this distribution list. "When I found out who the operational head of the house search was, I said to my superior, who was standing next to me: I'm curious to see whether you can also find Gottfried Küssel's email printout," said G. in front of the U -Committee. When she later cleaned up her office, the document was no longer there, G. later explained.

When asked by STANDARD, Preiszler did not answer what connection he had to Küssel or whether he knew about the invitation.

The selection of Preiszler's task force against street crime (EGS) to carry out the raid always attracted significant criticism...

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INES Category 3 "Serious Incident"19 April 2005 (INES 3) Nuclear factory Windscale/Sellafield, GBR

20 tons of uranium and 160 kilograms of plutonium leaked over the course of a year from a burst pipe at the thermal oxide reprocessing plant (Thorp) at Sellafield.
(Cost approx. US$76 million)

Nuclear Power Accidents
 

This incident is the only accident in Sellafield after Windscale 1957 that can still be found in Wikipedia de

Wikipedia de

Sellafield# Incidents

In April 2005, a leak was discovered in Sellafield, through which around 83.000 liters of radioactive liquid, consisting of nitric acid, uranium and plutonium, escaped unnoticed for months. It is the most serious incident at a nuclear facility in Great Britain since 1992. The public was only informed weeks later, the first press reports appeared on May 9, 2005. The "Independent on Sunday" later reported that the pipe had been leaking since August 2004, but this was not discovered until April 19, 2005.

For the incident, the British nuclear company BNG (British Nuclear Group), which is responsible for decommissioning the Sellafield reactors, was ordered to pay for negligence on October 16, 2006 500.000 pounds (around 750.000 euros) sentenced. The costs of this event will be on 76 million dollars valued.

Since the late 1940's and Windscale/Sellafield's inception, approximately 20 incidents of greater or lesser severity involving the release of radioactivity have been reported. Up until the mid-1980s, large quantities of the nuclear waste generated in day-to-day operations were discharged in liquid form via a pipeline into the Irish Sea.
 

Wikipedia en

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield

Nuclear power accidents by country#United_Kingdom

Translation with https://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
 

AtomkraftwerkePlag

Sellafield (formerly_Windscale), United Kingdom

On April 19, 2005, a leak was discovered in a damaged pipe at the THORP facility, which had leaked 83.000 liters of radioactive acid. The British nuclear company British Nuclear Group (BNC) admitted failing to comply with safety regulations and was ordered to pay £500.000. The incident was classified by the IAEA as a major INES level 3 incident...

There are comparable nuclear factories all over the world:

Uranium enrichment and reprocessing - facilities and sites

During reprocessing, the inventory of spent fuel elements can be separated from one another in a complex chemical process (PUREX). Separated uranium and plutonium can then be reused. As far as the theory...
 

Youtube

Uranium economy: Facilities for processing uranium

Reprocessing plants turn a few tons of nuclear waste into many tons of nuclear waste

All uranium and plutonium factories produce radioactive nuclear waste: Uranium processing, enrichment and reprocessing plants, whether in Hanford, La Hague, Sellafield, Mayak, Tokaimura or wherever in the world, all have the same problem: with every processing step More and more extremely toxic and highly radioactive waste is being produced...

 


18. April


 

prohibitionsFreedom | Illiberal

Smoking ban:

Prohibitive culture everywhere you look

Britain's government wants to gradually ban smoking, and some German politicians like that. Illiberalism also affects more important issues.

How far, Wilhelm von Humboldt asked in 1792, can the state's care for the well-being of its citizens extend? And the Prussian replied that the state's interference in the private affairs of citizens was "reprehensible" "where it does not have a direct bearing on the violation of the rights of one person by another." The Humboldtian ideal of education is often invoked; his ideal of freedom is often trampled on. Nanny politicians who want to force us to be happy are acting more and more aggressively.

According to the Bild newspaper, the federal government's drug commissioner, Burkhard Blienert, is open to a smoking ban based on the British model. Parliament there has decided to raise the minimum age for buying tobacco every year. Anyone who is 15 years old today will never be able to legally buy a cigarette in their life. At least not in the UK.

The British government followed New Zealand's model with this ban. In an irony of history, the new coalition government there only recently repealed the 2022 anti-smoking laws. And rightly so, because you don't need a vivid imagination to imagine how such laws can be subverted.

[...] Too much is arbitrarily forbidden; Illiberalism marches and relies on the fact that too few people object when other people, especially those of politically different faiths and minorities, are prohibited from doing something. If only 20 percent smoke, you can ban them and pat yourself on the back for having done something for public health and against the tobacco lobby. But there is not only public health, but also the healthy public feeling that would like to ban school sex education in the name of innocence and gender in the name of linguistic beauty. In the end we come to the situation that Humboldt described: "Moral character suffers even more from excessive care on the part of the state." On the one hand, one only asks what is permitted, not what is right; On the other hand, you try to "evade the laws of the state" that don't suit you and consider "every escape to be a gain." Oh, what does “at the end” mean? We're already there.

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Inequality | Income | Wealth tax

Billionaires pay more in Switzerland:

Germany spares the super rich

The middle class in Germany and Austria pays more taxes than billionaires and multimillionaires. In Switzerland they have to give up more.

BERLIN taz | 73 billion euros: This is how much the German state could earn if wealth taxes were raised to Swiss levels. The Swiss tax level would bring in around 5 billion euros for Austria. In Switzerland, of all places, which is known as a tax haven, the super-rich are taxed more heavily than in Germany and Austria. This is shown by a study published on Thursday by the Momentum Institute, the Tax Justice Network and Oxfam Germany. But how does this unequal treatment come about?

In Germany and Austria, income from work is taxed more heavily than income from assets - i.e. dividends, capital shares from real estate and shares, and participation in company profits. Therefore, according to the study, the actual taxation of income is only up to 30 percent. This is significantly lower than the predicted maximum tax rates. What's astonishing is that the tax and contribution contributions of middle-class families in Germany and Austria are actually higher than those of the super-rich, at over 40 percent.

[...] One thing is certain: the richest five percent of the German population owns almost half of the wealth. Barbara Schuster from the Momentum Institute Austria also points out the above-average contribution to global warming by the super-rich: “Fair taxation would free up the resources that we urgently need for socially just climate policy.”...

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China | Wind energyCompetition

Wind power horror scenario

"China pushes a button and it goes dark in Germany"

Germany wants to build offshore wind farms with a capacity of 2030 gigawatts by 30 and even 2045 gigawatts by 70. The industry estimates that this would require 7000 wind turbines the size of the Eiffel Tower. However, there is currently a lack of port space and special ships for this expansion. Cuxhaven plays a key role. Bärbel Heidebroek, President of the Federal Wind Energy Association (BWE), explains in ntv's "Climate Laboratory" why the Lower Saxony port is a bottleneck for German expansion at sea, but also on land and thus for the entire energy transition. Another problem is the subsidized Chinese competition. Without clear competition rules, the European wind industry could face the same fate as the solar industry, warns the BWE boss. The horror scenario is dark: If China gets its way, the Chinese leadership could later control Germany's energy supply. 

ntv.de: How can it be that there is a lack of port space for wind power at sea? 

Bärbel Heidebroek: Of course the port areas have not decreased, we simply need more and more capacity. We don't just need port expansion for offshore purposes, i.e. for wind power at sea. Most of the rotor blades for onshore wind turbines also come to us by water: 80 percent of these onshore blades land in Cuxhaven. The quantities and the rotor blades themselves have increased significantly and the port expansion has not kept up.

[...] There is also currently a big debate about fair competition with China. The EU is investigating the areas of electric cars and the solar industry, but is also looking at Chinese wind turbine manufacturers. There are punitive tariffs and import restrictions on the table. Are you afraid of problems from this direction?

Punitive tariffs are rarely a good idea because they lead to a trade war. It is clear that China produces under different conditions. The Chinese state heavily subsidizes its companies. This is not fair competition. European wind manufacturers cannot compete with this. We have to be careful that they are not replaced by Chinese companies like the solar companies. But there is a European answer, the so-called Net Zero Industry Act, which states: 40 percent of all green technologies must be manufactured in Europe. There is currently a discussion about how the regulation must be designed so that the wind industry receives fair conditions.

Is there already a bottleneck emerging with certain components that could become a problem?

As with all technical devices, there are components that primarily come from China. We should bring at least part of the production back to Europe. I don't want to imagine a world in which China can take German wind turbines offline and control our energy supply...

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Democracy | entry ban | Palestine Congress

“Palestine Congress” in Berlin:

More fuss about Varoufakis

Who ordered the entry ban against the Greek ex-minister? The authorities are causing confusion. The Left and Amnesty are demanding clarification.

BERLIN taz | The entry ban against former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was limited to the period from April 10th to 14th, 2024 - the period of the “Palestine Congress” in Berlin, which was canceled by the police. If Varoufakis, currently Secretary General of the European movement Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (Diem25), which he co-founded, had traveled to Germany for this purpose, he would probably have been turned back at the border. This emerges from an email exchange between the Greek politician's lawyer and the German federal police, which the Frankfurter Rundschau (FR) reports on today.

It is still unclear who exactly imposed the entry ban - and why. As the taz reported on Saturday evening, the police had verbally informed his lawyers in Berlin on Saturday that an activity and entry ban had been imposed on Varoufakis.

The BMI did not want to confirm this to the taz and referred to the Senate Interior Administration in Berlin. The taz referred this to the federal police. Handelsblatt and AFP reported on Monday that it should not be a ban on activity, which would not be legally possible against EU citizens, but rather an entry ban. This can also be imposed on EU citizens.

[...] Amnesty Germany is calling for an independent investigation into the police actions against the “Palestine Congress” in Berlin. Freedom of expression and assembly applies “to all people, even if they criticize German and Israeli government policies.” The border is “marked by criminal acts and not by politically unpleasant statements”.

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Military-industrial complexArmamentShare prices

When will we finally end the defense contractors' party?

Stock prices for weapons manufacturers are exploding. Wars drive the arms wheel. About the fatal, tax-financed windfall - and cowardice. Classification.

Surveys show us that many people in Europe and America are increasingly concerned about wars and military escalations. According to a survey in the USA, for example, 84 percent of respondents are afraid that their own country could be drawn into the Middle East conflict.

And this study was published in November last year, before the recent escalation in the wake of military strikes by Israel and Iran.

[...] German military budget: increase by 90 percent

Compared to the budgets of other ministries, the German defense budget has increased the most in recent years, from 38,5 to 51,95 billion euros. In addition, there are 20 billion from the special fund for the Bundeswehr for 2024. So a total of 72 billion will be spent on defense.

That's an increase of almost 90 percent in just five years.

In the USA, the Pentagon and security budget has long been in the stratosphere, which knows no measure and no limits. $1,4 trillion of taxpayer money, and the number is rising, is allocated to military and security spending each year (including $900 billion for the Defense Department). 62 cents of every tax dollar paid and freely spent by the US Congress ends up with armed forces, military bases, weapons manufacturers and security companies.

[...] The military-industrial complex is proliferating 

Russia increased its defense spending by around nine percent to $86,7 billion. China increased its budget by a good four percent to $292 billion, a third of what the USA spends.

But it's not just wars that are good for business. Military and security companies also make money from militarized border protection, while it is their weapons and ammunition that create the refugee and migration crises, which rich countries then protect themselves against with the help of the same companies, all at the expense of taxpayers...

 


17. April


 

Climate Crisis | HeatHeavy rain | Gross domestic product

Economic Damage Study:

Climate crisis is shrinking global economy

Climate researchers warn that global warming is not only melting glaciers, but also prosperity. Also in Germany.

The climate crisis is making us poorer: The global economy is at risk of shrinking by around a fifth by 2050 due to global warming, warn climate researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in a new study. The results are in on Wednesday Nature journal appeared. There is a risk of a drastic loss of income, including in Germany.

Overall, the researchers estimate the annual damage worldwide in 2050 to be around 38 trillion US dollars, which corresponds to 35,7 trillion euros at the current exchange rate. The problems are diverse: droughts or heavy rain, for example, destroy harvests. The increasing heat leads to exhaustion among employees, which reduces work performance.

Other studies have already shown this. The Economists at the insurer Allianz, for example, had calculated last year, how a single summer heat wave led to reduced productivity in the United States, southern Europe and China. The result: The extreme temperatures, which became more likely due to the climate crisis, would have cost countries an average of 2023 percentage points of gross domestic product in 0,6.

According to the current study from Potsdam, the damage expected by the middle of the century will cost six times more than measures to limit global warming to 2 degrees. However, even good climate protection can no longer prevent the economy from shrinking - after all, warming has been going on for a long time. Germany has also heated up significantly. The decade from 2014 to 2023 was on average 2,3 degrees warmer than normal levels at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. According to the Robert Koch Institute, thousands of people in this country now die every year as a result of heat...

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Emirates | Severe weatherOman

United Arab Emirates:

Land in the desert – masses of water flood Dubai

Rain is rare in the United Arab Emirates. But now parts of the country are under water. Streets in Dubai are flooded and there is chaos at the airport.

The United Arab Emirates is experiencing its heaviest rainfall since records began 75 years ago. According to the Center for Meteorology, up to 254 millimeters of rain fell on Tuesday. That's as much as usual in about two years, they said. There was particularly a lot of rain in the east on the border with Oman. The state agency WAM spoke of a “historic weather event”.

[...] No drainage systems for heavy rain

Schools in Dubai remained closed and government institutions and companies called on their employees to work from home. Many who ventured out onto the streets stopped their vehicles. Some had to sleep in their cars. Authorities sent tankers onto the streets and highways to pump out the water. Water entered some houses.

[...] There was also heavy rain in Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. 19 people were killed in heavy rain in the Sultanate of Oman, including ten school children.

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Climate targets | CO2 emissionsMinister of Transport

Expert advice on climate issues

Traffic misses climate target for the third time

In Germany, less CO2023 was emitted in 2, but the transport sector clearly missed its climate targets. This will not have any direct political consequences because the federal government has adapted the Climate Protection Act accordingly. 

By 2030, greenhouse gas emissions in Germany are expected to fall by 65 percent compared to 1990. This is what it says in the Climate Protection Act. Germany should become climate neutral by 2045, meaning it will no longer emit any CO2. The Expert Council for Climate Issues (ERK) checks every two years how much the country is getting closer to its goal.

[...] CO2 emissions fell by around ten percent in 2023, i.e. from 750 to 674 million tons. According to the Expert Council for Climate Issues, this is the highest percentage decline in one year since 1990.

The largest reduction, by 20 percent, was in the energy industry. Industry and buildings each fell eight percent. However, the data for the building sector, although plausible, is not clear because it is based on estimates. Only the transport sector missed its target by 12,8 million tonnes of CO2 and only achieved a decline of one percent. The sector exceeded the permitted annual emissions for the third time in a row. In the previous year, the share of transport in total emissions had already risen from around 13 percent in 1990 to almost 20 percent in 2022.

The good news: For the first time, the share of electricity from renewable energies was over 50 percent.

[...] Volker Quaschning, energy expert at the University of Technology and Economics in Berlin, praises the solar funding, but doubts that it will solve the problems that have been created. It is becoming increasingly difficult to integrate larger solar systems into the grid. “Hoping that the solar boom will compensate for the shortcomings in traffic is quite an illusion,” says Quaschning. A wind turbine cannot replace a diesel car.

“There’s still nothing happening in traffic,” he says. “Sooner or later this will come back to haunt us.” Last year, 900.000 oil and gas heaters were installed. Fatal decisions were made that were difficult or impossible to correct. “You have to set the right course now.” With the new climate protection law you are just cheating your way through to the next federal election. “But then climate neutrality will actually no longer be achievable by 2045.”

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Freedom of speech | Incitement of the peopleentry ban

Entry ban for Yanis Varoufakis:

The country is drifting toward a new McCarthy era

Opinion The German state is resorting to an entry ban because of the Palestine Congress - including against Yanis Varoufakis - and is using paragraphs that are wide open to any interpretation

He wanted to go to London to present his new film. Then on September 18, 1952, while he was still on the voyage on the passenger steamer Queen Elizabeth, he received a telegram from the US authorities. It stated that he would only be allowed to return to the United States if he submitted to an extremely painful questioning by the “Committee on Un-American Activities.” If he ignores the instructions, the entry ban will remain in place. Charlie Chaplin, under surveillance by the FBI on suspicion of communism, raised both middle fingers, emigrated to Switzerland and wrote the thought-worthy sentence in his memoirs: “Superpatriots could be the cell from which America turns into a fascist state.”

[...] What is understood as incitement in this country was drastically tightened by the Bundestag in December 2022 - under the impression of hateful Ukraine war debates. Since then, condoning, denying or grossly trivializing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by means of statements that are capable of inciting hatred and violence against people or groups of people and disrupting public peace has been considered punishable sedition.

Well-known lawyers have objected that such paragraphs, which are wide open to any interpretation, would sooner or later lead to a restriction of legitimate public discourse and would rarely hit the right people. We have now reached the point where entry bans are being imposed as a preventative measure without any criminal offenses being committed...

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Nuclear phase-out | Nuclear lobbyUrsula von der Leyen

Von der Leyen and the nuclear alliance endanger security, the economy and climate protection

New analysis shows the massive dangers of nuclear power. On March 21.3.2024, 30, the nuclear summit of the Nuclear Alliance of around XNUMX states took place in Brussels.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, CDU, who once supported the nuclear phase-out under Chancellor Merkel, showed her true colors here: her long-standing U-turn towards full support of nuclear energy. Below is an excerpt from her speech:

“I also note that following the global energy crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, many countries are taking a fresh look at the possible role that nuclear energy could play. There are mutliple reasons for this. Firstly, to achieve our climate goals: We must not forget that nuclear energy is the world's second largest source of low-emission electricity after hydropower. Second, to ensure our energy security: Countries are trying to reduce their dependence on imported fossil fuels. Thirdly, nuclear energy can form a reliable anchor for electricity prices and thus ensure our competitiveness. …. Our Commission's own forecasts also show that nuclear energy will complement the majority of renewable energy sources and that the latter will form the backbone of electricity generation in the EU by 2050.”

The reasons she gave are not sustainable. It ignores the fact that CO2-free renewable energies have already significantly exceeded electricity generation from nuclear energy:

In 2023, about 9% of the world's electricity came from nuclear power plants.

However, renewable energies already contributed around 30%.

Your comparison of nuclear power with hydropower is obviously chosen to hide the weak contribution of nuclear power...

 


16. April


 

Nestlé | Food

50 years after the milk powder scandal

Experts find a lot of sugar in Nestlé's baby food

In Europe, the world's largest food manufacturer often markets its milk powder without added sugar. A new study now shows that things look completely different in developing and emerging countries. 

Nestlé apparently adds large amounts of sugar to its baby and toddler products in developing and emerging countries. This is the result of a study by the Swiss organization “Public Eye” and the “International Baby Food Action Network”. The paper is available to SPIEGEL.

The two NGOs had Nestlé's cereal porridge and milk powder brands Cerelac and Nido examined in a laboratory. Both are promoted by the world's largest food manufacturer as "healthy for children", are widespread in Asia, Africa and Latin America and are considered so-called "billion brands" - brands that each contribute over a billion Swiss francs to Nestlé's sales. Nido, on the market since 1944, is Nestlé's best-selling follow-on milk brand worldwide.

In Europe, Nestlé only sells the products in some countries and sometimes under different names. Here the company also offers its baby porridge and milk substitute products without any added sugar.

Things look different in India, Brazil or Nigeria. According to the study, Nestlé's Cerelac children's porridge sold there regularly contains four grams of added sugar per serving - a whole teaspoon full. Target group: babies from six months. The milk powder Nido, which the Swiss offer in Indonesia, South Africa, Mexico and Nicaragua for small children under the age of three, is also said to contain high doses of added sugar. Up to five grams per serving, according to the study...

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Greenhouse gas | biogas plantliquid manure

The potential of biogas plants:

Manure instead of corn

Biogas has a bad reputation because corn is grown extensively to generate energy. It supplies green electricity when there is no sun or wind.

If you look through the hatch long enough, you'll see it bubbling and bubbling. What you can't see, no matter how hard you squint: how gas rises from the brown mass; and the green electricitythat arises from it.

Jürgen Frenzel switches off the lighting behind the peephole and leans against the railing of the raised walkway around his biogas plant. Frenzel’s olive green baseball cap says “Farmer.” “Farmer with a sustainable biogas plant” would be more precise. That’s what sets him apart from most people in Germany. Because Frenzel does not grow energy crops such as corn to generate electricity. What is fermenting here, in a district of the municipality of Nuthe-Urstromtal south of Berlin, is the manure from 450 bulls and old straw from the stable.

Manure and manure release methane, which is particularly harmful to the climate, but also carbon dioxide. Without the biogas plant, the gases would escape into the atmosphere and have their effect there. They are then converted into electricity in an adjacent combined heat and power plant. When the gas obtained is burned, CO₂ is also released into the environment; However, plants had taken this away from her before they ended up in the many stomachs of the cattle.

Viewed simply, generating electricity from biogas appears to be CO₂-neutral. But fields emit greenhouse gases, tractors use fuel, and in practice gas always escapes. The actual CO₂ balance of a biogas plant depends heavily on how it is managed. In a modern system like Frenzel's, which also relies on so-called residual materials, the CO₂ balance is likely to be almost neutral or even negative...

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Brazil | Angra | Angra NPP

Completion of Angra 3 in Brazil still under discussion

The Brazilian nuclear power company Eletronuclear (part of the state-owned electricity company Eletrobras) has objected to a report by the Union Court of Auditors (TCU - Tribunal de Contas da União) which points out that after the commissioning of Unit 3 of the Angra NPP, an increase in energy tariff would take place. Eletronuclear said the data cited in the report was preliminary.

Units 1 and 2 of the Angra NPP currently generate about 3% of Brazil's electricity. Construction of Angra 3 with a Siemens/KWU pressurized water reactor with an output of 1.405 MWe began in 1984 but was interrupted after two years. The project resumed in 2006 and the first concrete was poured in 2010. However, work was stopped again in 2015 following allegations of corruption in connection with government contracts. At that time the facility was 65% complete.

In 2022, Eletronuclear's newly appointed president, Eduardo Grand Court, ordered construction to resume. However, in April, the city administration of Angra dos Reis again ordered a halt to construction. Mayor Fernando Jordão said he approved the embargo "because Eletronuclear is carrying out a project that does not comply with what the municipality has approved," including promised compensation payments. In 2023, Eletronuclear stated that it was committed to reversing the suspension of work and seeking constructive dialogue with the city of Angra dos Reis to resolve outstanding issues...

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)

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Bavarian-military Turning point

Bavaria's universities have to conduct research for the military

The turning point reaches science and teaching. The state government has passed a law ordering cooperation between universities and the Bundeswehr.

Bavaria's universities and colleges should also serve the military. The state government is pursuing this goal with its law to promote the Bundeswehr, which the state parliament will discuss in its first reading on Wednesday.

The law is a reaction to the Germany-wide “turning point discussion” after the Russian attack on Ukraine. It provides for the revision of several state law provisions. Among other things, Bavaria's universities and colleges should now be subject to a general cooperation requirement with the Bundeswehr. Quote: "Research at universities financed with public funds must also be able to be used for military purposes by the Federal Republic of Germany or its NATO allies."

[...] However, the Greens in the state parliament doubt whether a legally anchored ban is the right way forward. Verena Osgyan, spokeswoman for science in the parliamentary group, said when asked by our editorial team: "We Greens don't believe in forcing universities or individual researchers to cooperate, regardless of who - that contradicts our understanding of academic freedom." According to the Greens, funding programs are more likely to achieve their goal. The Federal Ministry of Economics is already working on it. Osgyan: “Bayern should follow this example.”

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Participation | Electricity price | Wind power

Lower Saxony starts wind energy expansion:

Compensation payments for residents

Lower Saxony wants to set up more wind turbines. In order to increase acceptance, the operators should provide municipalities and residents with financial support.

OSNABRÜCK taz | Lower Saxony wants to re-regulate the approval of renewable energy systems on land. The state parliament is expected to pass a 50-page bill from the state government this week. It is a departure into new territory, because in the future the financial participation of affected communities and residents will be mandatory for wind turbines in order to increase acceptance.

[...] The system operator must pay affected communities 0,2 cents per kilowatt hour fed in as an “acceptance fee” and also 2,5 cents to residents within a radius of 0,1 kilometers. To ensure this participation, the operator has many options available, from direct payment and corporate participation in the company to reduced electricity tariffs.

“This is a participation of many,” says Kollenrott and provides an example calculation: Assuming that a wind farm with three systems of 5 megawatts each generates 2.500 million kilowatt hours of electricity with 37,5 full-load operating hours per year, that would bring the municipality 75.000 euros annually a. If 500 residents register their claim, they will each receive 75 euros per year. If no one reports, the additional 0,1 cent goes to the municipality for projects aimed at the common good. “Citizens should realize: This is also my wind turbine,” says Kollenrott. The law could come into force at the end of April. “It will have great appeal,” hopes Kollenrott...

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Natural gas | Greenwashing | Correctiv | The green gas lie

“This is customer deception”: Correctiv exposes green gas lies

The majority of German households heat with natural gas - which is not good for the climate. Eco-friendly promises made by many providers make your conscience easier. But “eco gas” is often nothing but a deception, as new research by the Correctiv network shows.

For a few cents extra, the natural gas delivered should be “climate-neutral”, as many German gas suppliers promise. The “green gas” remains simply natural gas, but the providers invest money in projects that are intended to protect the climate. That's what they want at least mathematically offset the climate-damaging emissions from gas combustion. The principle is called Compensation.

For example, many gas utilities participate in tree planting or forest conservation projects in different parts of the world by purchasing credits. The practice is not only widespread in the energy industry but also in other industries, but is somewhat controversial. The emissions have finally arisen and they will not disappear again even through climate protection measures such as tree planting. Studies also repeatedly show that the projects are significantly less effective than promised.

[...] Does the research have consequences?

After Correctiv confronted the affected gas providers with the research results, The first companies are already drawing conclusions: The energy giant Rhein Energie announced that it would pause its green gas offering until “concrete project review procedures” are available. According to Correctiv, six other gas suppliers have removed their climate neutrality promises from their websites, including Stadtwerke Rheine, Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz and Rietberg-Langenberg. The energy supplier Entega, which received CO2 credits from six unsuitable forest protection projects, told Correctiv that it was now questioning the green gas concept.

German Environmental Aid (DUH) has called on 15 gas suppliers to end their misleading advertising for “climate-neutral” natural gas...

 


15. April


 

Climate Protection Act | Speed limit | Solar package

Reform of the climate protection law:

Watered down climate law is coming

The leaders of the traffic light coalition agree on a controversial reform. The transport minister's threatened driving bans are now off the table.

BERLIN taz | Less commitment to climate protection: The factions of the traffic light coalition in the Bundestag have come together to reform the climate protection law and a solar package. The faction leaders announced this on Monday afternoon.

To date, the German climate protection law provides for specific CO2 limit values ​​for each year and for various areas of the economy and life, such as energy, transport, buildings or agriculture. If these are not met, the responsible ministry must submit an immediate program.

In the future, the entire federal government should instead be responsible for climate protection as a whole - and wants to do so across sectors and years. The annual limits set out in the law are therefore practically meaningless. In addition, the ministers are no longer individually responsible.

The FDP in particular has been pushing for this for a long time. The federal cabinet approved the reform last year. The Bundestag also looked into it in September, but did not decide on it. Meanwhile, criticism grew from climate activists who see the reform as a watering down.

[...] With a motorway speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour, 80 outside towns and 30 in cities, the German Environmental Aid (DUH) achieves 11 million tons of CO2 savings. Hence Wissing's conclusion: only driving bans would help. However, the Climate Protection Act states somewhat vaguely that immediate programs are intended to ensure compliance with CO2 limits “for the following years”.

[...] climate activists warn that more climate protection is needed in the transport sector, regardless of legal formalities. “Whether with or without an immediate program: Minister Wissing must reduce emissions,” said Michael Müller-Görnert from the German Transport Club. “Doing nothing shrinks the scope for maneuver and makes climate protection more and more expensive.”

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Photovoltaics | Solar PanelsSolar Thermal | PVT modules

Production of PVT modules:

Hope for the German solar industry?

The German solar industry is in crisis. But one manufacturer is defying the trend - relying on innovation and technological advances. A possible future for the location?

There are quite a few challenges that the solar industry in Germany has to contend with. China is flooding the European market with cheap products. Nevertheless, the federal government recently rejected possible subsidies for solar module manufacturers.

Big players like Meyer Burger therefore prefer to try their luck in the USA. The company Sunmaxx, on the other hand, has decided to set up a large production facility in Germany - specifically for solar modules. How sustainable can that be?

[...] Despite all these adversities, the Sunmaxx company has decided to give the solar industry in Germany a chance. On April 15, 2024, it will open its solar module production in Ottendorf-Okrille near Dresden. What's special: The company relies on highly efficient solar modules that not only produce electricity, but also heat at the same time. These PVT modules can then be used in private homes, industry and municipal heat supply...

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Finland | EPR | Olkiluoto

Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant: maintenance extended due to new defects

The new EPR in Olkiluoto was actually supposed to be back online on April 8th. The operator has now extended the maintenance work for a second time.

The annual maintenance of Unit 3 of the Finnish Olkiluoto nuclear power plant is taking longer than planned. It will be extended by eight days because new defects were discovered during maintenance and there were technical problems with the testing equipment, the operator TVO announced at the end of last week.

It is now expected that the maintenance will be completed on April 28th. TVO did not disclose what defects it found. The operator actually wanted the maintenance to be completed by April 8th, but then initially extended the duration of the work to April 15th. The shutdown of the reactor and the fuel exchange took longer than planned, it was said in mid-March.

Olkiluoto 3 is a European pressurized water reactor (EPR) that Framatome (then Areva) and Siemens had been building since 2005. A year ago it went online regularly. It was originally intended to feed electricity into the Finnish grid in 2009, but the construction costs increased from the originally estimated 3 billion to 12 billion euros...

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Romania | deforestation | overexploitation

Research in Romania

Does Ikea cut down trees in virgin forests?

Greenpeace denounces the Swedish furniture company for using valuable trees from the Carpathians. Branches in a dozen European countries could be affected, including Germany.

Jungle wood for Ingolf chairs or Sniglar baby beds? The environmental organization Greenpeace has accused the furniture giant Ikea of ​​being partly responsible for the deforestation of virgin forest in Romania. According to Greenpeace research, wood from old, valuable forests in the Romanian Carpathians, even virgin forests, is used to make furniture.

The accusation affects several external manufacturers who produce for Ikea. According to the environmental organization, 13 different products from these suppliers were found in Ikea stores in 30 countries, including Germany, including the group's classic furniture. Ikea stores in Belgium, Finland, France, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Hungary were also affected.

Some of the last remaining virgin forests in Europe can be found in Romania. Ikea should not “destroy these for furniture,” said Greenpeace forest expert Gesche Jürgens. “Ancient forests are essential to the health of the planet and must be protected immediately.” Ikea must take action against overexploitation, she demanded...

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Subsidies | jobs | Transformation

Job cuts at ThyssenKrupp:

And the subsidies?

The steel company ThyssenKrupp wants to cut a lot of staff, but at the same time receives state money - this should be prevented in the future.

The announced job cuts at ThyssenKrupp should be a warning to politicians. The group wants to reduce its steel production capacity by around 20 percent. This will primarily affect the Duisburg location, where 13.000 of the approximately 27.000 employees in its steel division work. Even if the steel company is still leaving details open, it is clear that the job cuts will be massive. What is particularly bold: At the same time, ThyssenKrupp is receiving 2 billion euros in subsidies from the federal government and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to build a climate-friendly production facility.

It is actually not wrong for the state to pay subsidies to develop a climate-friendly industry in the current situation. The upheavals and challenges that the economy will face in the next few years are so great that they can only be mastered with the help of the public sector. Above all, they must be approached in a planned manner; The success of the transformation must not be left to the free forces of the market, i.e. chance. 

[...] The state should attach clear conditions to future funding: the benefiting companies should have to provide location and employment guarantees. Otherwise, the subsidies are just gifts to shareholders who benefit from the general public paying for the transformation of their companies.

 


14. April


 

Renewables | Nuclear phase-out | Blackout

One year after the nuclear phase-out:

Nuclear power? Does anyone miss them?

On April 15, 2023, the last three German nuclear power plants went offline, accompanied by fears of blackouts and inflation. Which of these happened?

FREIBURG/BERLIN taz | The Debate about nuclear energy do not stop. Also because it is generally considered to be relatively climate-friendly: compared to coal and gas power plants, it causes fewer CO₂ emissions. Even in The IPCC report therefore mentions nuclear energy, despite its risks, as a way to cover at least a small part of energy needs with low emissions. When the last three German nuclear power plants, Emsland, Isar 15 and Neckarwestheim 2023, went offline on April 2, 2, critics of the phase-out also used this supposed climate protection argument as a vehicle to generally question the shutdown of nuclear power generation. There were also a number of concerns about security of supply. After 12 months, an initial balance can now be drawn.

Was the loss of nuclear power replaced by coal and gas?

No. Net public electricity generation from fossil fuels was 155 billion kilowatt hours (terawatt hours, TWh) in the last twelve months. In the twelve months before the nuclear phase-out it was 210 TWh. It has these numbers Fraunhofer ISE as part of its energy charts processed. The CO₂ value of the German electricity mix, which the Federal Environment Agency estimated at 2022 grams per kilowatt hour for 434, fell to less than 2023 grams in 400 despite the nuclear phase-out.

[...] Is it true that large parts of the world are relying on nuclear power while Germany has opted out?

There have been and are announcements about the construction of new reactors in various countries Although again and again, some projects were also realized. But in the global balance, the new nuclear power plants were only able to replace the loss of old reactors. Global nuclear power generation is therefore still at about the same level as it was 20 years ago. At the same time, as electricity consumption increased worldwide, the share of nuclear power in the international electricity mix fell continuously. In 2022 it was only 9,2 percent, the lowest value in 40 years. Photovoltaics and wind power together now generate more electricity worldwide than nuclear power...

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Climate protection | Human right | Minister of transport

Exciting debate about driving bans: Court ruling just a false victory for climate protection?

According to the ECHR, climate protection is a human right. What practical consequences does this have at the national level? Can court rulings alone save us?

A few days after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg made it clear, using Switzerland as an example, that deficiencies in climate protection can violate human rights, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) is making Germans afraid of driving bans at the weekend if this ruling is taken seriously in this country become.

The FDP rejected a general speed limit in the coalition negotiations, and the climate protection sector goals in the transport sector were not achieved. “Refusing to work” was the accusation made against Wissing by well-known climate activists like Luisa Neubauer.

[...] The climate crisis does not stop at generations nor does it recognize national borders. It is a question of our survival and therefore the greatest crisis of our century.

We will only solve them through a rapid and 100% switch to renewable energy. For this we need a solar world revolution. It is the first real and peaceful, non-violent global revolution. The French, Russian and Chinese revolutions were neither peaceful, global nor non-violent. Only the solar age brings the real turning point.

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Transport policy | road traffic | Parking fees

Parking fees etc.

Big city was able to significantly reduce car use through new transport policy

In recent years, a large city has increasingly invested in bicycle paths and reduced the number of car parking spaces. Now a study shows how the transport policy measures work.

Paris, France). In many large cities, including loud Data from TomTom Also in Hamburg, traffic flows more and more slowly. In order to reduce car traffic and emissions in the city, Paris has significantly reduced the number of parking spaces and invested more in bicycle paths in recent years. Scientists from David Belliard's urban planning institute have now published a study that analyzed the effects of transport policy measures. To do this, they recorded the movements of 3.337 people between the ages of 16 and 80 from the Paris metropolitan region from October 2022 to April 2023.

According to the data, only 4,3 percent of all trips are made by car. Bicycles (11,2%) and public transport (30%) have a significantly higher share. However, the Parisians cover the most distances (53,5) on foot.

“Ten years ago, who could have predicted that bicycles would overtake cars. But it happened.”...

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Iran | Israel

War in the Middle East

Iran's unprecedented major attack on Israel

Despite international warnings, Iran has attacked its arch-enemy Israel with more than 200 combat drones and missiles. Most were intercepted. So far it is unclear how Israel will react.

Iran made good on its threat and attacked Israel with drones and missiles during the night. Air alerts were raised in several places, including Jerusalem and southern Israel. Explosions were also heard as a result. According to the Israeli army, Iran fired more than 200 drones and missiles. Rocket alarms were sounded in various locations in Israel. According to the army, the warning sirens wailed in areas such as the south, the Dead Sea, the greater Jerusalem area and the north of the country.

The “vast majority” of the missiles and drones were intercepted, said army spokesman Daniel Hagari. Israeli warplanes intercepted more than ten Iranian cruise missiles outside Israeli territory. Dozens of unmanned aerial vehicles were also stopped outside Israel...

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Media | Iran | Israel | Retribution

Iran begins attack on Israel in retaliation for deadly strike on embassy

Drones and cruise missiles take off from Iran towards Israel. Both states confirmed the attack. Why German leading media has a list.

Iran launched drones and cruise missiles from its territory towards Israel on Saturday. This is in retaliation for a deadly Israeli airstrike in early April on the Iranian embassy complex in Damascus, Israeli and Iranian forces said.

A side building used for consular purposes was destroyed in the attack. The Iranian ambassador was in the adjacent embassy building at the time of the attack. The attack has not yet been officially confirmed by Israel, but it is largely undisputed among observers that Israel is responsible for the airstrike.

[...] Leading German media with a list

In reports from leading German media there is still a strange imbalance in the reporting of the Israeli attack. The mere fact that Israel did not confirm the airstrike is enough to describe the destruction of the building in Damascus as an "allegedly Israeli" attack.

Hardly anyone internationally disputes the responsibility of the Israeli armed forces and the government of the right-wing conservative Benjamin Netanyahu. In the USA, for example, both the news network CNN and the New York Times - both media outlets are not suspected of any sympathy for Iran - reported on "retaliatory strikes" by Tehran.

Late on Saturday evening, both Spiegel and Tagesschau.de simply said "Iran is attacking Israel"...

 


Current news+  Background knowledge Top

 

Current news+

 

Poland | Westinghouse | EDF | KHNP | Lubiatovo nuclear power plant | Pątnów Nuclear Power Plant

Poland: The Tusk government is also relying on nuclear energy

But serious financing is not in sight and when awarding the contract for the construction of the nuclear power plant, Poland has found itself in a dilemma between US and French interests.

The fundamental political decision to make nuclear energy a pillar of the national electricity supply dates back to Donald Tusk's first term as Prime Minister of Poland. 100 percent owned by the Treasury, the “Polish Society for Atomic Energy” (PEJ) was founded in 2009 as a project sponsor. But the lofty plans for an own nuclear industry languished as a result of financing uncertainties. It was only with the zero interest rate policy of the Western central banks that the financing issue appeared to be solvable and conceptual work on the national nuclear program was intensified from around 2015.

In 2017, the PEJ came to the conclusion that the most favorable location for the first Polish nuclear power plant was in Lubiatowo in the municipality of Choczewo on the Kashubian Baltic Sea coast, approximately 50 km northwest of the so-called Tricity with Gdansk. A role was played by the fact that in the second Baltic Sea location considered, Gaski near the health resort of Kolobrzeg (Kolberg), considerable resistance from the local population was to be expected.

The decision for the general contractor for the construction of the nuclear power plant, which would then also have a 49% stake in the operating company, was just as difficult as the choice of location. Three companies tried for the contract: the French state-owned company Eletricite de France (EDF) with its subsidiary Framatom, the South Korean state-owned company KHNP and Westinghouse from the USA. According to media reports, the Koreans made the cheapest offer in terms of price. However, Westinghouse accused KHNP of using US technology without a license and had this accusation confirmed by a US court.

It was probably the fear of US retaliation claims as well as loyalty to the alliance towards the USA that motivated the national-conservative PiS government to finally award the contract to a consortium of Westinghouse and the US construction company Bechtel in November 2022. Investment costs of 3-1000 billion zloty (= approx. 3700-90 billion euros) were estimated for a nuclear power plant with three AP100 reactors and an output of 21 MW, and a further 23 billion zloty for infrastructure investments around the nuclear power plant site . Construction is scheduled to begin in 5 and the first unit is scheduled to go into operation in 2026.

Awarding the contract to Westinghouse/Bechtel was not easy for the national conservatives. The suspicion that Poland is engaging in expensive pandering to the USA does not just burden Poland's self-image. A contract award to KHNP would have given a boost to the desired cooperation with the Koreans in other economic areas, not least in the armaments sector. The Korean group LG CHEM is already one of the largest foreign industrial investments in Poland with the battery plant in Kobierzyce, Lower Silesia, with over 5 billion zloty. In order to offset the possible resentment of the Koreans, President Yoon Suk-yeol was invited to a state visit in July 2023 and PiS Treasury Minister Sasin assured the Korean delegation that, of course, Korea and not France would be Poland's partner in the energy industry alongside the USA and KHNP can count on the order for the second nuclear power plant.

The local communities in Choczewo and the surrounding area are divided over the construction of nuclear power plants. The Baltic Sea coast between the coastal town of Leba and the Hel peninsula is considered a tourist gem with great development potential due to its diversity with shifting dunes, cliffs and coastal lakes. A nuclear power plant doesn't fit in. On the other hand, the media has been drumming up the drum for years that the construction of a nuclear power plant will give the regional economy a growth boost.

The security policy aspect is strangely left out

In Polish society as a whole, supporters of the nuclear program, which envisages the construction of dozens of small SMR reactors in addition to large nuclear power plants, predominate. The mining of the still existing, very deep coal seams in Upper Silesia is becoming more and more complex. The generation of electricity from the lignite reserves that can be used in opencast mining must be gradually reduced in accordance with the EU's climate protection requirements. And only nuclear energy, according to the common argument, can secure Poland's industrial future with parallel support for wind and solar power. It has also been classified as environmentally and climate-friendly in the EU sustainability taxonomy. Who else would want to think about a possible reactor accident or problems with the final storage of used fuel elements? In internet forums, critics of the nuclear program primarily complain about the hardly calculable costs and the fact that “foreigners are doing the business again”.

Last year, the consulting firm Baker-McKinsey once again provided the political class and the media with a 120-page argumentative aid. The economic, legal and ecological aspects of nuclear power plant construction are discussed. As in the entire public debate, however, the security policy aspect is strangely ignored, even though Lubiatowo is only a good 100 km away from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which, according to the Polish media, is full of missiles. If the “Russian aggressor” is currently a constant topic of discussion in politics and the media, it does not matter that he may be provided with a quickly accessible and strategically important target in the form of the Lubiatowo nuclear power plant.

No matter how divided they may be on other issues, Poland's political class largely agrees on the nuclear program. A group called “Polska 2050” that presents itself as an opponent of nuclear power is part of Donald Tusk’s new coalition government, which was formed at the end of 2023. However, one can assume that the test-tube party, which started with a lot of money and very few members, should, among other things, make nuclear-critical voters socio-technically usable for an economically liberal coalition in the head-to-head race in the Sejm elections in 2023.

Real resistance to the nuclear program is from “Poland 2050“, after all the second strongest party in the coalition, is not to be expected. However, there are signs of a heated dispute between the government coalition and the PIS opposition over the question of which “partner country” the general contractor for the next projects in the nuclear program, which totals well over ten thousand MW, should come from.

Given the US disruption and the change of government, the Koreans probably have very little chance. However, two of Poland’s important “partner countries” continue to have great expectations regarding Poland’s ambitious nuclear plans – the USA and France. And it is clear which political camp has which preferences. During his visit to the USA in mid-March, the national conservative President Duda made a point of visiting a nuclear power plant in Georgia and effusively praising the AP-1000 reactors as the most modern in the world. At the end of March, however, a report appeared in the Polish media that the Tusk government would choose EDF as the general contractor for the second nuclear power plant planned near Konin in central Poland.

Former EU Council President Tusk apparently wants to present Poland as an investor-friendly country to his EU friends

When it comes to nuclear energy, there is no way around France, especially since the Paris government started intensive lobbying in Warsaw immediately after the change of government. Tusk has nothing to do with the state interventionist capitalism of the PiS and its efforts to diversify trade and investor relationships across the EU. The change of government in Warsaw was rewarded by the EU relatively quickly with the release of 23 billion euros from the “Corona Reconstruction Fund”, which the national-conservative government had blocked on the grounds of “non-constitutional” judicial election procedures. Now the consideration is due, e.g. B. also in the form of a contract award to EDF/Framatom.

In any case, a “partner country” will have to annoy Tusk when the contract for the second nuclear power plant is awarded soon. If it is the USA, one could imagine compensation in the form of increased arms orders. After all, the current state budget already earmarks PLN 118 billion, or 3,1% of GDP, for military spending. Armament and the catch-up social policy introduced by the PiS have already led to new public debt of 2023% of GDP in 5,1, well beyond the EU upper limit of 3%. With an inflation rate of 2024% in March 1,9, the Warsaw Finance Minister can currently only issue one-year bonds with an interest rate of 6% to men or women.

How the enormous sums for the nuclear program can be raised under such conditions is uncertain. It may be possible to persuade Westinghouse or EDF to raise a larger share of the investment sum on the financial market through a majority stake in the operating companies and guaranteed, high feed-in tariffs. But no one would then be able to talk or write about a cheap energy supply under national responsibility.

 


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March 29, 2024 - Nuclear power: Schedule for delayed start of operation of Flamanville 3 is shaky

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February 8, 2024 - Westinghouse does not deliver - Prague speculates on volume discounts for new nuclear power plants

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Poland#Energy Supply

The gross electricity production of Polish power plants was around 2012 TWh in 160. The electrical energy supply in Poland is largely based on the generation of electricity from hard coal and lignite, which together supplied 2012% of Poland's electricity in 88,6. The most important mining company is the state-owned Kompania Węglowa. Gas-fired power plants were largely insignificant; renewable energies covered 8,7% of electricity demand, with biomass ahead of the rapidly growing wind energy and hydropower. Poland has rich reserves of geothermal energy, which is currently being increasingly used in Kuyavian near Toruń and in the mountainous region of Podhale near Zakopane. At 16,6% of total generation, the share of combined heat and power generation is at a relatively high level. Due to the very high proportion of conventional energy sources, Polish politicians are campaigning against ambitious climate protection goals out of concern about potentially high costs. Polish politics also relies on coal-fired electricity in order to be as independent as possible from energy imports.

The country does not yet have any commercially operated nuclear power plants, but operates a small experimental reactor with a thermal output of 18 MW, the Maria research reactor, which went critical on December 1974, 30. This currently works with only two thirds of the power. Uranium mining was carried out in the southwest of the country until 1968. The planning of new nuclear power plants was stopped in 1990 because the costs would be too high.

At the end of 2022, under the influence of the Russian war against Ukraine and the associated energy supply bottlenecks, new planning began for its own nuclear power plant, which follows on from earlier preparatory phases. A total of six nuclear reactors are scheduled to come online by 2043. The location of the first nuclear power plant, which will have an output of more than one gigawatt, is planned on the Baltic Sea near the town of Choczewo. Seawater will be used to cool the reactor here. Commissioning is scheduled for 2033. The construction is being carried out with the help of the USA company Westinghouse, which received the official Polish construction contract in October 2022...
 

Choczewo

Choczewo (Kashubian Chòczewò; German Chottschow, 1938–1945 Gotendorf) is a village in the Polish Pomeranian Voivodeship and belongs to Wejherowski County (Neustadt in West Prussia). It is the seat of the rural community of the same name.

Geographical location

The village is located in Western Pomerania, about ten kilometers from the Baltic Sea coast west of Lake Chottschow (1938–1945 Gotendorfer See, Polish: Jezioro Choczewskie), about 26 kilometers north-northeast of Lauenburg (Lębork).

Voivodeship road 213 leads to the place, connecting Celbowo (Celbau) via Krokowa (Krockow) with Wicko (Vietzig), Główczyce (Glowitz) and Słupsk (Stolp).

The former district town of Lębork (Lauenburg in Pomerania) and the current district town of Wejherowo (Neustadt in West Prussia, 28 kilometers away) can each be reached directly via well-developed side roads.

There has been no rail connection since 2004.

[...] The location of the first Polish nuclear power plant, which will have an output of more than one gigawatt, is planned on the Baltic Sea near the town of Choczewo. Seawater will be used to cool the reactor here. Commissioning is scheduled to take place in 2033 at the earliest.

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