March 11 marked the 10th anniversary of the deadliest technogenic event of the 21st century – the accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant in Japan. Although no one died following the accident itself and the subsequent radiation pollution, Japan is reaping its consequences to this day.
Guided by fear and public pressure, the Japanese authorities shut down all 40 of the country’s nuclear reactors, although only 15 of them located on the coast were at risk. As a result, electricity imports into the country increased by 85%. The consumption of coal and gas has also sharply increased, and as a result, the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere have also risen.
This in turn has increased the incidence of asthma and lung cancer in the population. The Earth Institute Columbia University estimates that all these emissions caused a minimum of 21,000 premature deaths for ten years.
However, the accident affected the whole world, giving rise to the new nuclear phobias, which were a little forgotten after the Chernobyl accident. The German government decided to act most radically following the accident by closing all its 8 reactors and announcing a complete rejection of nuclear power by 2022. However, the deficient amount of electricity had to be compensated. As it turned out, the easiest way is the Russian gas. So do not be surprised that Angela Merkel supports the imposition of sanctions against the Russian leadership for the poisoning of Alexei Navalny and immediately speaks out in support of the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the same speech.
Meanwhile, the transition to combustible renewables led to at least the premature death of 4,600 thousand Germans from 2011 to 2017. By 2022, this figure will reach 16,000 people.
Although Germany is one of the leading EU countries in terms of transition to renewable energy sources, its pace remains inconsiderable. Therefore, Russian gas, like other Russian fossil energy sources, will keep maintaining a significant place in German and European energy sector. At least until then, the society and the authorities will be unable to overcome their phobias regarding nuclear energy. Or make renewable energy more efficient.