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Siemens’ abandoning nuclear power

In Europe News, Tech, World News on September 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm

By Karl Grossman

The just-announced decision by Siemens, a major player in the nuclear industry, to withdraw entirely from nuclear power is a significant declaration by a corporation about nuclear power and the world’s potential energy future.

“The chapter is closed for us,” Peter Loescher, chief executive of the Germany-based engineering group, said Sunday. “We are no longer going to participate in taking responsibility for building nuclear power stations or financing them.”

The Siemens decision follows that of the German government to, with the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex, abandon nuclear power–to close the nation’s 17 nuclear plants, all of which were built by Siemens–and pursue instead safe, clean, renewable energy led by solar, wind and geothermal.

It comes after Loescher saying, when a deal was struck in 2009 for a joint venture with Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear company, that Siemens would become a “market leader in nuclear energy” challenging General Electric, Westinghouse and Areva.

It follows Wall Street’s now long-standing reluctance to finance the construction of new nuclear power plants. Thus, the financial basis for President Barack Obama’s push for new nuclear power plants in the U.S. is billions of dollars in taxpayer-supported loan guarantees.The U.S. government is also using the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federally-owned entity created during the New Deal, to be a leader in building new nuclear plants.

Although many people blame industry for the development of nuclear power, ever since it began in the 1950s, much of industry hasn’t wanted to get involved. Governments, then and now, have been in the forefront of nuclear power.

Now, with Germany moving in the other direction, Siemens has followed.

The national nuclear laboratories set up in the U.S. during the Manhattan Project of World War II to embark on a crash program to build atomic bombs were key to nuclear power development in the U.S. With the war over, the laboratories…

Full article…

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