1999 Annual Nuclear Technology Conference Opens in Karlsruhe

Karlsruhe, 18.05.1999

This year`s Annual Nuclear Technology Conference opens today in Karlsruhe. More than 1,000 experts from 21 countries will be discussing topical questions relating to the use of nuclear energy.

In his opening address, the departing president of the German Atomic Forum, Dr Wilfried Steuer, criticised the "stop-and-go" policy of the Federal Environment Minister which, he said, had set off "chain reactions" which the minister had obviously overlooked. As Dr Steuer actually said: "The name of Trittin has so far been a synonym for a confrontation policy." The Federal Economics Minister, Werner Müller, on the other hand, had always argued in favour of a consensus. Dr Steuer welcomed this approach, and expressed the hope that the Economics Minister would be successful in getting the government to adopt it.

Dr Steuer described the idea of keeping Germany free of nuclear energy as an illusion. "In an age of globalisation, one in which Europe is steadily growing together and markets becoming steadily more open, this can only be described as unrealistic. Terminating German nuclear technology would not mean terminating the consumption of nuclear energy in Germany. German people would of course continue to consume nuclear energy; it would only mean that it was generated abroad, and that economic value-creation would benefit some other country. In this respect, the present government`s termination policy reflects out-of-date thinking. The idea of a national policy divorced from the rest of the world might perhaps be suitable for self-contained supply situations in totally sovereign states, but in a rapidly integrating Europe with free energy markets a go-it-alone energy policy is no longer in keeping with the times."

In his speech, Dr Steuer also emphasised the economic and ecological significance of nuclear energy for Germany, and said that it was making an indispensable contribution to the competitiveness of the energy business and the economy as a whole within the single European market. In addition to this, German nuclear power plants are saving the emission of about 160 million tons of carbon dioxide. "That is equal to the total annual emissions from all German road traffic. Since the early 1960s, a total of almost 2.8 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity have been generated from uranium and plutonium, and this has saved the atmosphere more than 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide."


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