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A Eulogy for the German Atom

Noah Rettberg

Monday, April 24, 2023

Chris Keefer  0:00  

A warm welcome back to decouple. Today I'm joined by returning guest Noah Rettberg decouples official German correspondents in a rather somber week, this is the week of the final closure of the remaining German nuclear plants. And so I thought I would check in with Noah, both for his personal reaction, and to get a sense of the reaction within broader German society to talk about the state of the energy vendor enthusiasm for the energy vendor in Germany, and to reflect a little bit upon what was lost. And maybe we'll end with a little bit of hope and opportunity for the future. So no, I welcome back.

Noah Rettberg  0:39  

I as it's always an honor and a pleasure. I'm doing like, unreal rework. My, my anger and frustration fuels me.

Chris Keefer  0:50  

Alright, well, well, thank you for letting us exploit you in this way. So, so no, I just, you know, I think everyone who listens to this podcast is very aware of of what just happened. But give us give us a quick summary. And then tell us about the demonstration you were at. And let's dig into, I guess, probably the the changing sentiments around nuclear energy in Germany.

Noah Rettberg  1:11  

So Saturday, Last Saturday, last week, the three remaining bowling year at reactors that Germany was still operating, which had been given three months long life extension by the German government, to make it through this winter. were shut down. Probably and, as planned for for the final time, their operational lifespan. They they basically ran almost until until midnight. And then we had Emsland shutdown around 10 o'clock. And I started to shut down around 11pm. And then we had natural best time, finally, go offline, right before midnight, right on Saturday. And that was that was is so many drum Media Creator, German, green, or left wing politician is so dirty, rotating right now basically, how big this is the speech moment, the official end of the nuclear age. It's a bit bizarre, because it's like, you have to live in this this completely German strim German centric bubble to see it as this. But they see it as the end of the nuclear age of, of like an evil age when greed or whatnot, tried to abuse those forces not meant to be used by humans of the nuclear force to make energy that these times are now over. And yeah, so they really, they really enjoyed these these moments. They were celebrating, they were firing, firing on all cylinders, right, right before the shutdown, the last week, when directors were still running. We were bombarded with articles with, with posts with those people really getting anxious for the, for the upcoming closure and when when it happened, they celebrate it and they they did they really celebrated they pride themselves on this. I think Mark Nelson when he was furious about basically the closure of Indian Point and the Sierra Club, he described describe the Sierra Club dancing on the grave of Indian Point. And they are dancing on the grave of the entire German nuclear industry, which once was the best nuclear industry there is and I will stand to this point. It felt like it went beyond dancing on the grave of one of these industrial cathedrals. It's, it just is. It's the middle finger to 10s of 1000s of people who made amazing work, building and running now decommissioning these plans was said benchmark for the nuclear industries through the 80s was 90s, early 2000s. On how to operate reactors. It's a middle finger to people who made the ISA reactor in in Bavaria the world's most productive reactor 10 times it makes little Feanor to the people who made wounded the world's was productive reactor 10 times, its, I'm sorry, I'm I just can't I got the honor to visit one of these amazing pieces of technology just before it closed while it was still running, standing right next to the steam generators. As the as they were vibrating and shaking and giving up off lots of heat. I stood next to the spent fuel pools and what what inside the containment building and it was amazing. And it was, it just made one even more angry and even more lost for words on what we are doing right now, if you see these plans inside, because no one will probably ever see an industrial side, this well maintained, run to this high of standards. And this clean, and also this safe. I wish we were in the reactor building, you can do that in a drum reactor inside the containment while the thing is growing, at full or in our tests due to the stretch of 70% power. And what we were in there almost two hours, I got less than the microsieverts of those that if I spent the same time in the plane, I probably got four or five times the amount of those it was inside containment. Yes, we were standing inside the containment, we were chatting, we have a great time we were friends with people from the plant. And it is it just gave me a whole new appreciation. And it makes one even more angry. And even more deep. It makes me even more depressed. On on what was happening. And probably this this day, two, I don't know, a few weeks ago when I was at the plant probably one of the best days of the year. And it made the last weekend. One of the worst regions of my life, even though we had we have no we had a great protest in Berlin. But it was like when we drove home from from the process and from the little party in quotation marks afterwards. And when I drove home with friends, and that was when we knew it was we knew what the dates at harvest time had shut down. And tea NT we drove through Berlin just looked at me and said, I can't believe it. They actually did it. nativist time nativist time has grown.

Chris Keefer  7:35  

It's, I mean, it's an extraordinary triumph from the Green Movement. Germany was what 25% nuclear powered

Noah Rettberg  7:43  

30% and 30% at around 2002

Chris Keefer  7:47  

to have you know, accomplish this rather ignoble goal, you know, even with an energy crisis, striking Europe. You know, it took an incredible amount of forbearance to fight physics in that way, and, and to, quote unquote, accomplish this. I mean, when I visited Indian Point, I, my mental image was that of, you know, a kind of like an environmentalist Trophy Hunter, you know, standing on the corpse of an endangered species, you know, something that provided incredible value to the world. It's truly this act of of vandalism and and I had enough cruelty but let's let's not dwell on that too long. We've heard your your kind of personal reaction. I do want to talk a bit more maybe later on about, again, what was so unique about German nuclear power, that started being in containment for a couple hours getting such a low dose? There's there's some interesting in a for the tech nerds in the audience. Some interesting reasons for

Noah Rettberg  8:43  

the dose, getting a low dose isn't isn't isn't as big a deal as just being able

Chris Keefer  8:50  

to get in. Yeah, exactly. And we'll talk about why

Noah Rettberg  8:54  

in a candle, but they're trying to the American or French or Russian reactor.

Chris Keefer  8:58  

We'll leave that as a teaser for later. So you mentioned sort of the greens celebrating, you know, what was the broader reaction? You know, it seems like there's been a real shift or at least loosening of the hatred of nuclear energy in Germany. Tell me a bit more about, you know, what the sort of reaction has been in terms of general polling and in terms of, you know, the mainstream media response.

Noah Rettberg  9:21  

So, at this point, basically, we have we haven't made a response. There are at this point, both journalists and most Germans were well aware that this decision probably wasn't one of the wisest dishes decisions made by German politics made until this day. I think there are many Germans right now. I would give it probably around the third which rightfully see this decision in this closure as one of the most stupidest decision, I think we had, we had like one German professor, which tried it Basically the stupidest decision decision in the history of Germany, citing that what we did during World War Two was not stupid, it was evil. But this is just stupid. And it is tremendously stupid and destructive. So there are people in Germany aware of this. And probably we have a solid majority at this point, which does not support the nuclear phase out anymore. But here's the thing. In politics, it doesn't just matter how many people support or oppose something, if there are many people supporting something, and they don't voice that vote, really, they don't say, if you are against what I support, I will not vote for your party. But there are many people who say I oppose this thing. And I will make my my vote partially dependent on which party will oppose the thing that I oppose as well. So of course, those people have a lot more influence. And as of now, while most Germans were against the closure, they didn't give enough of a thought to swing driven public opinion. And you can see this in the in the Liberal Party, which is part of the coalition government right now, which publicly states how terrible, they think that terrible they think that other phase out is, but they have voted against a bill put into into into the parliament by the Conservative Party, which, which plans to extend the lifetime the operational lifetime of these plans. So I want to say like this, maybe it sounds a bit too dramatic. But the Liberal Party in Germany has the blood of these plans on its hands, even though even though it's publicly stated that it wanted these plans to continue operating. Don't give me if you if you hear something about them wanting to keep running these plants, or bring them back or whatever it isn't, it isn't something that they deem worth it on the larger scale. Basically, keeping the coalition and getting as much concessions as they can get from the other coalition partners is way more important, and they will not act on this. And they will not support nuclear, if it's cost them anything right now, because they know that right now, this isn't something that will punish them, it needs elections, they will be punished for a lot of things, probably ever needs election, but they will not. They don't feel that they are punished for the nuclear phase out. So right now, this is probably the state of mind of most Germans, we are against it. But we are not so far against it, that we would, that we would really do a lot of it about. And this makes the greens at this point, very comfortably sure that what they see as the final end of the Atomic Age is actually the final end of the atomic age.

Chris Keefer  13:31  

And I think it's fair to say that the mild winter that Europe and Germany experienced really was kind of the death toll of of German nuclear, if if it had been a cold winter, if there'd been a real shock, if gas prices had remained high, that the plants would have been extended further. Is that Is that too optimistic?

Noah Rettberg  13:49  

I would say yes. We had weather mostly warm winter. But we had four reads in late November and early December, which were cold, which where we saw snow, where we saw temperatures below below tended with zero, where we saw a natural gas consumption rise rapidly. So if the winter had been not this one, energy consumption would have been much higher in natural gas consumption would have been much higher, and would have put a lot of pressure on the German rich, which without natural gas fired power plants is not able to reliably supply the grid with electricity. Coal alone doesn't doesn't do it anymore. So they need the gas plants running and if if they had to prioritize home heating to a stronger degree, then this would have put the gas plants in a situation where they might not have been able to supply enough electricity and this would probably have swayed some opinions in maybe not in the heads of the politician, but in more likely in the heads of the people working And underneath them, those those those officials, which Mark Nelson sometimes describes as ruthlessly efficient, I would disagree with this on some parts. But there are certainly a significant amount of ruthlessly efficient people in Germany Left Frying to keep the ship floating. And the ruthlessly efficient people that will pursue the German energy policy that will try to find at all cost the fossil fuels to make up for what our official energy policy is letting those people are not the people in charge, those people are executing the plans of the people in charge. And it probably might have swayed them to pressure the people in charge to maybe do something about the nuclear power plants. But that but that didn't happen. And, and German, German politics and German institutions are as of now very certain that or they think they are very certain that they can pull the energy vendor off. And I'm very confident and this and this wouldn't have been the case. If we had a cold winter, because they right now dilute themselves and they dilute their supporters. I mean, Green Party, too did we also the Social Democrats, that basically it was smart, German government policy that got us through this winter. But it wasn't there was a lot of sacrifice and part of the German public, there were a lot of expensive last ditch measures at trying to save energy by the German public, of course, by everyone, but a significant amount of them. There was reduced production. That was the ruthlessly efficient procurement of fossil fuels, including basically buying an already built floating LNG terminal and pretending that you did an engineering masterpiece by installing a pre made LNG terminal, which they really celebrated this as a thing that now Okay, now we can move fast because we have changed and we are screwed. No, you didn't, you bought an already existing piece of infrastructure, moved into Germany and molded on site and loaded some LNG from it. So now with an LNG terminal, but not because we were good at building something that we bought something that already existed. So there is this facade of competent government policy around the inner energy politics, that was put up, and that a significant amount of Germans, especially those who are more on the left side of the political spectrum, right now believe in and this facade could not have been kept up. If we had a colder winter, no amount of groups ruthlessly buying stuff African troll would have changed this if we had a colder winter. So yes. The green plan to fight climate change was saved itself by the climate change, they plan to fight.

Chris Keefer  18:16  

Exactly, exactly. No, no, it's just to sort of step back for a second. You mentioned nuclear was 30% of the German grid. Were any of those plants? Were the closures all political? Were any of those plants end of life or beyond life extension or refurbishment? And is there like, has there been a cost estimate for you know, what this cost? Essentially the unnecessary shutdown of you know, 1/3, of Germany's grid? Do you have any idea about that?

Noah Rettberg  18:47  

I'm not aware of any cost estimate that I'm confident in. I can I can give you this. These plants once made 170 terawatt hours of electricity, which they don't make right now. And we really are right now making a similar amount of coal fired electricity. The thing is, that if these plants would exist right now, all of them including like, the tiny Albany time plan we had in 2000. All of these plans would probably be able to run right now and would probably be able to run economical right now. If all these plans would exist, it wouldn't mean that all coal fired electricity production in Germany will cease. But it would have greatly diminished it and it would probably also have shifted coal use from this medium loads partially base load us to extreme load shift load following and PT news, which probably you might have seen Um, a lot of coal plants converted to gas plants, which has happened other coal plant in Austria, but did not yet Germany but might have happened. And if these plants had continued to exist, I would I would safely bet on the Germany right now would have at least 100 megatons of co2 emissions less. So there is there is a cost to emitting co2 Because we are certificate trading inside. Inside the EU. These certificates are trading in the double digits of euros, their prices, of course volatile, but we wouldn't be saving billions of euros from certificates alone. If those power plants would be running, rather than croplands, then there goes all German nuclear was always cheaper than German coal. So these power plants, if they would run, the electricity that they would produce is cheaper than the coal electricity. So for every megawatt hours, for every megawatt hour that Germany would produce from nuclear, of course, they would save a couple to probably 10 euros per megawatt hour. And then there is also and there's also an economic upsides of just not being as energy starved as we are. In this, we will not be in the situation where right now Germany is losing. Its last and its last silicon producer losing bet. So metallurgical silicon for chip manufacturing. The last plant that was doing this in variant Germany is right now closing will be closing down soon. And rising electricity and rising energy costs is the reason why this is happening. So no, I'm sorry, I can't give you a firm number on this. But what I can tell you is definitely that with these plants with all these plants running, we would we would be saving millions of euros a year alone on co2 certificates. We would be not millions billions, we will probably be saving billions of euros per year on electricity cost. And we would we would not have the we would not have those opportunities, and we will not have the cost of German industry having to shut down and decrease production. That then

Chris Keefer  22:41  

how how, how premature were the closures of these last three plants? How many years did they have left in them? I know that's a matter of some debate with the Mark Nelson type saying nuclear plants are functionally immortal. But let's say they have a 60 to 80 year lifespan at

Noah Rettberg  22:54  

least 20. So they're the one in the worst shape is natural this time. I mean, it's not in a bad shape the seniors the steam generator. At this at this nuclear power plants, when they find out that steam generator tubing is compromised, they pluck off the individual tubes in the steam generators, the steam generators have like 4000 tubes. So if you plug like 20 of these tubes inside one steam generator, this isn't like a big deal for the power plant and the whole, but you can't do that indefinitely. So, in around 15 to 20 years, the steam generators at NATO vest time would have been in a state where they would have needed to be replaced which was never done at a German nuclear power plant. And this would have brought maybe be some reason for other nuclear power plants replacing steam generators is routine. But this was never done German nuclear power plant and the stave native s time which was a Gen three reactor one of the best performing best maintained and most advanced reactors in the world was the tried mournfully by German greens as a rust reactor is like an old shitty piece of thing that will explode or blow up or lead any session because they just plot some some of the tubing inside the steam generators which is routine maintenance operation in these plans. And this there's just the complete travesty in my mind that that having been in the Bollini at reactor that this phenomenal piece of engineering in this state where everything inside is perfectly painted or either perfectly painted off from stainless steel so there is nothing in there. That will rust. Rust sorry And nothing there is rusting or could even have the chance to rust inside this plant. And because of this formality of closing of some tubing that you don't have any I don't have perfect confidence anymore that these these plants have been described as at rust reactors or, or seen or described as almost falling apart by Draymond Green and anti nuclear groups. And so at least 20 years, I would be probably more certain that with the exception of NATO vests time, all these reactors, including wind and water, which closed last year, could have run for two years, probably without having the need of steam generators replaced and that invest time probably needing new steam generators in in 10 to 20 years probably getting them earlier, so that this is no longer Beatrice, but they're these plans could have retired long after me was just started his career. So I'm not Mark Nelson, I'm not saying that they are eternal. But the American plans which are not as good as these plants are, even though they are adequate, they are getting at us and some made it 100 use. And if the American plants can get this, then of course, any kW you build nuclear power plant that Germany ever had, could get at us and total. And none of these plants know German, nor Western motorboat and don't think these German as well. None of them ever got to the 40 years, which greens pretend like is the intended lifespan, even though it isn't for these plants. So they all died in their 30s.

Chris Keefer  26:46  

So now, again, I promised little comic relief. If there were great Steelman arguments, or if there's some that I'm missing, I'd love to hear them. But again, on the comic relief side, what are some of the most ridiculous things you've seen? I think one I saw was essentially, while there's only three reactors left, that was only a trivial amount of power. We did some quick calculations, I saw Mark did some in around 10 million German households worth of electricity, or the entire output of the Nigerian grid, which serves 200 million people just kind of wantonly shut off. I remember, you know, an Indian Point plant closed, just thinking about what that would look like if it was removing, essentially, it was the same as removing every single solar panel and wind turbine from New York, you know, in the course of the 1020 minutes it took to shut down the reactor. It's it's a pretty extraordinary thing. But beyond that, do you have any, I mean, maybe it's dark humor here now to ask you to come up with this, but any any one of the most ridiculous things you've heard from, from the German greens on this topic.

Noah Rettberg  27:48  

So on the side of the downplaying thing is basically these reactors have been running in 2023, on around 70 80% of the power because they were in deep stretch out for three months of the year. So if you put the electricity that they produced over the last three months, and compare that to what is going to be probably the entire electricity production and consumption of litres in Germany, then you can say all these power plants were just like 10 1% of German electricity. In 2023, they will just be 21% of German electricity in 2023. So they are relevant. But of course, this takes into into into consideration that they were running only for three months of the entire year. And then those three months it significantly reduced power. So this has been something that is really infuriating in the downplaying of the role of these nuclear power plants, which is running at if they had full fuel and would run at full capacity would made sense to 7% of German electricity, and they pretended it was only like 1% this is I think we will significant. One of the most gars deadly lie that German greens and German anti nudes have come up with is the lie that German nuclear power plant or nuclear plants in general. So they say clock their grids because they claim these plans are the 10 basically just run at full power. They are not flexible, so they plot our grid for beautiful renewables. So they need to go and basically as soon as they are no longer clouding the grid, they will no longer clock the grid and all the renewables will take over and instantly replace them because we don't need nuclear it's just chlorine the grid up even though the nuclear power up Lance went, went on Saturday and on Sunday it would slip basically, we lost at this point two and a half because due to deep stretch out, two and a half did what was the last power level of all units combined. And it was almost instantly replaced with two and a half liter watts of cold, but they claim that for some reason German nuclear power plants are inflexible and clog up the grid. Even though that these nuclear power plants that we have in Germany are one of our Monday nuclear power plants with the best load following capabilities everywhere in the world, they are doing primary and secondary control, they tend if for example, a large generator goes off the grid driven nuclear reactor could increase its could increase or decrease its output by 100 megawatts. So almost 8% of the reactor inside 30 seconds to compensate for immediate load spikes of lead speed due to a large consumer growing online or like large generator growing offline. So, these these nuclear power plants ran primary control off the grid, they had tremendous load following capacities as such. In the last years, those reactors put four on the electricity market their capability to throttle up and down with 20 to 30 megawatts per minute of secondary intended control. They probably could, if they were forced to do even more probably up to 100 megawatts per minute in secondary control if needed. So, these are power plants with load following capacity exceeding the load following capacity of coal plants, they do so more reliably, they load follow more reliably than coal plants, German coal plants have a tendency to trip and braid off if they do loads due to excessive load following which puts further burden on the grid as the power plants that we will see ourselves more reliant in the future for load following on firm capacity, can't load follow that reliably as the nuclear plants did. Some of them once used to be like an invest time one or either one. They did basically in the 2000s, they will use more s Pietra plants and they were used as baseload plants, they went from 40 to 100%. On a daily cycle, there is there's this load diagram of MetroWest time one 2009, where every day in the morning, it goes up to to 100% power and then throttles down in the evening and then goes back to 100% power and next day. So these are tremendously fast load following power plants. And German Greens have the audacity to claim that these power plants were in fact not needed. But just cluttering up the grid. So our beautiful and shiny renewables can't get onto the grid, even though it is the renewables that fail when we need them, and they clog up the grid when we don't need them.

Chris Keefer  33:30  

Something a little bit about the kind of coal complacency because you know, there was a number of German, I think hard coal plants that were restarted to fill in for expensive gas. Several lignite plants were extended. Even our beloved Greta Thunberg piped in and said that, you know, nuclear plants in Germany shouldn't be shut down since they already exist. Certainly, you know, not while we're burning coal or not to focus on more coal burning. Is that weighing heavily on the conscience of Germans? Are climate concern Germans or greens? This pivot back to coal?

Noah Rettberg  34:04  

Oh, no, the coal plants are just are just a fallacy. They are the Safale they are cleaning up the grid. Don't worry about them. We don't need them. It will be totally fine when they go then they do a bit of offline in 2024. No, but the thing is in 2022, in the summer of 2022, the German government put 17 awards from 14 units back of coal power plants back into the grid, mostly bituminous coal but also one or two units Seiren lignite coal, they went back online in October of 2022. And they will only stay online for two years so they will go offline again in 2024. The thing is with these The these plants, of course, as of now, are compensating for the loss of in total 8.2 gigawatts of nuclear that we lost in 2021. And now in 2023, and these troll power plants, right now, they are keeping the grid online. So please don't claim that Germany is in danger of immediate, of immediate, like outright in our immediate literacy sphericity to the point that would be dangerous. And the reason why that isn't the case are, to a large extent, the toll generators that we took back online in 2022. German German politics basically accepted increased co2 emissions from these troll plans as a consequence of this. But these troll plans are just on the grid until 2024. And then they are supposed to go online. And the the largely green government that we have, will need to find a way to basically sell it to their base keeping these plants online for longer. Because they are indispensable right now, we cannot afford to take these coal power plants back offline at the 72 Watts, for in total 37 kilowatt coffee. We can't afford to take these power plants that are offline. And we can't afford to take the other coal power plants and would also are supposed to go offline this decade right now. So

Chris Keefer  36:43  

is it fair to say is it fair to say that Germany substituted coal for nuclear one to one nuclear for

Noah Rettberg  36:49  

coal to a large degree Yes, or more mostly Yes. Of course, it also substituted with gas and then substitute renewables to a degree but the firm and load following capacity of those nuclear power plant is run. So firm load following power plants will need to take their place. And this is coal. Even though that nominally, we basically lost 170 terawatt hours per year of generation from nuclear and build what 170 terawatt hours of generation from wind and solar. So nominally, we replaced neutral, clean nuclear with less clean wind and solar. But on a basis of meeting, meeting the Lord meeting to demand, we replaced nuclear with coal, and we will replace it with gas. And we definitely did it with these last six reactors, we replaced them with coal. And we will run into really big problems if these coal power plants will be taken offline in 2024. And we will run into really big problems if they will not be because as I said, these coal power plants are not as reliable as our nuclear power plants were. And these tall power plants are under maintained, understaffed and are rapidly aging. This isn't a way to run a power plant by basically giving it to your life. It's tensions every two years, which is essentially what German politics see, at this point is no other way of doing because we can't sell long term continued operation of coal to the public. Because one half will that really angry or new because all we are losing our climate targets, and the other part will get really angry towards you. Because if we don't need those nuclear plants, why are you now forcing us to keep the coal plants so you are admitting the nuclear plants when needed. So if they keep these coal plants, people will get angry at them. And if they don't keep these troll plants, Germany can no longer meet demand and rule face blackouts, not now, not that nuclear plants have gone, but it will face them in the future as we have increasing demand on the grid from an ever larger amount of heat pumps and electric vehicles that the government is also forcing onto the grid, which will be met with an insufficient amount of of foreign power on the grid. German government right now plans to build 20 dedeaux What have h2 Ready das plans basically gas plans, but we are winning, you cannot replace at the roots of nuclear almost 40 kilowatts of coal, with 20 data watts of gas in a scenario where you aggressively increase electricity demand and even more aggressively in disproportionately increasing peak consumption of electricity when it gets cold. And when people in the night want to charge their trial. So they are in a dreadful position that I would not one would want to be in. And right now they are celebrating. But they will choke on their laughter. In a couple of years, when they will be forced in the situation where they need to decide what they are doing with these coal plants. They will be forced to keep coal plants online, that nobody that at this point wants to see online, that will not be properly maintained, that are aging that are deteriorating, and it no longer have their full work force at site. So yeah, right now they are celebrating. But the laughter will fall silent soon, and I don't want to be in their situation. And I can't tell you what will happen. But then it's it's in Britain, but then the future. It's a bit of a singularity event. I think, especially the warm winter told us to be humble about what we predict. But if there is one thing that one can predict it is that shit will hit the fan in the future. This isn't a way to reliably run anything. If you don't do preventative and regular maintenance, the availability of any industry, any plant will deteriorate, the plant will deteriorate. And this will happen to German coal power plants, which are an adequate replacement of gem nuclear power plants solely from a risk management perspective.

Chris Keefer  41:57  

You know, talking about this h2 Ready gas plants, hydrogen ready gas plants, and you know, we've covered Greenpeace energies, pro wind vegan gas plus. So maybe this is a great synergy here. You know, they were up to less than 1% blend of green hydrogen into the natural gas. They were they were providing. Again, this was a Greenpeace entity. Tell me a little bit about your thoughts on on that on, I guess the hydrogen greenwashing that you're seeing how diluted or how easily diluted as a German public about, you know, these probably 30 new gas plants that are going to be built these three new LNG terminals. This I mean, I guess there's one long term contract for gas with Qatar now 15 years. But it's

Noah Rettberg  42:46  

a tiny contract. Yeah. Yeah. So you cannot do long term fossil fuel anything in Germany right now. The German government has banned the installation of gas or all oil, anything fired, home heating, effective 2024. So we are in a situation right now, where German craftsmen are basically working overtime to install as many gas and oil furnaces in homes as they can before the year ends. So you can't do fossil fuel long term anything in Germany, it's no longer politically allowed, basically. But it is effective, but physical reality it forces us to do short term fossil fuel burning and investments. And in this situation, building gas plants pretending that they are hydrogen plants is the only way of getting fossil fired anything onto the grid that is new, and in turn intended for long term operation that isn't just writing out the old crap until it breaks down. But it's actually building new fossil fired equipment in Germany basically will be done due to pretending that they are burning hydrogen, which they will never be. They will never do that. They will be probably they might do province. We didn't Canadian hydrogen deaths with homeopathic amounts of Canadian hydrogen, which is a great irony because German greens did not did not only force us to subsidize their bullshit renewables. It also basically forces German. The greens are great supporters of homeopathic medicine. So we have German public health care pays for homeopathic medicine. So my sister recently got her wisdom tooth out She had to pay herself for the narcotics so the anesthetics sorry she had to pay for the anesthetic which was from public health does not cover the then the anesthetics but you can get your home you do expensive homeopathic bullshit paid for by Durham public health care. And you can get your you are allowed to do your natural gas with homeopathic amounts of Canadian hydrogen. In Germany, because you're trans built around it really situational. You can build gas fired anything. So you can you need to pretend that there is hydrogen in it. And this is the big irony because there are the ultra climate ready tools are honestly opposing anything except like wind and solar. So they are opposing the hydrogen stuff, then there are like the light green, renewable bros pretending that this hydrogen thing is really real. And will will save us. And then the more more conservative side we have people who feel support this hydrogen thing, basically because they also know that it will get some fossil fired stuff on the grid that we desperately need. And it's just pathetic. And it will never it will never meet up for what we are losing in total nuclear generation. And it will never be able to to adequately suppliers in the in the future where we are supposed to have 50 million electric cars and 9 million heat pumps on the on the grid and in 2030. So it's just pathetic and sad.

Chris Keefer  46:43  

Yeah, I've said it many times. But the kind of climate and electrification commitments that that governments are setting are analogous to a brick wall to which we are rapidly speeding towards and stepping on the accelerator, not the brake. It's it's going to be quite a reckoning. It doesn't

Noah Rettberg  47:01  

get into my mind. Basically, the Liberal Party managed to slightly put brakes on the EU internal combustion engine ban for passenger cars for passenger vehicles. But it actually went alone with banning new installment of gas fired home heating effective next year. We are not allowed to install gas fired heating in homes effective next year office 50,000 euro fine. So your choice pay the 50,000 Euro heat pump, pay the ridiculously expensive electricity and are not sure if you can actually heat your home in a cold snap. Or pay 50,000 euros for for the desk fine, or hope that you can get it installed this year. If if in the if you said it when we had like the election period in 2021. And you said if the conservative had said oh but but if you don't vote for us, then you won't be able to have like your home heated in the future. That probably drum media would have decried that. Oh, the Conservatives are spreading fake news. Of course niemand had the opposition in the bowels mouths about nobody intends to ban their stuff effective next year. But it did that just when when went along with it. I maybe it's like how like communist thing like well, it will communists basically thinking, the worst situation, the deaths more open people are for our radical ideas. So the Liberals has just stopped pretending that they can ease the worst effects of a largely Green Government. And so they are destroying a lot of hope in the worst deaths. The hard times made hard men hard men will make soft times. But yeah, we are on the rapid trajectory of hard times in the future. And we have been spared the hard times this winter. We might be spared the hard times next winter. But we won't be in the winters after that.

Chris Keefer  49:21  

Right now. I mean, it seems like this generation not only is kind of cruising on the infrastructure that their ancestors built, but actively desecrating and vandalizing it, shutting it down. It's it's pretty extraordinary. It's kind of like being out on the walking the plank and sawing off the plank or being on a tree branch and selling off your own tree branch. It's it's pretty extraordinary. No, I think we'll, we'll have to leave it there. I'll give you a kind of last right to comment here before we sign off because I know you've always got one last thing to say. So go ahead out with it. And then we'll we'll shut it down for today.

Noah Rettberg  49:57  

It's off now. Germany has five nuclear power plants five Pressurized Water Reactors, which have fuel elements on site, which could be reshuffled into a new core on which they can run for like half a year. And these plans can be made ready to run again in half a year. Even though that may be right wing populist media has taught you that two of these letters are totaled by the evil twins node, all five of these reactors are still able to run and could be turned back around in around half year. That is the stand as of the 21st of April 2023. These plans could all be online next year. But this will not be the case for much Laura, one nuclear power plant will soon have holes drilled into its reactor core in a couple of weeks, so then it will be drawn. Another one soon afterwards. One of the NATO vests time, which got shut down last Saturday, has already has the commissioning license. So at the end of this year, there will probably be just one reactor that could be turned back around rapidly, which is ESA. And after that, all we would do with these plans is essentially reinstalling a new reactor pressure vessel, something that has never been done before in one of these reactors. But if there is any reactor where that could have been the case, it is a German reactor. And we could prove Mark Nelson right that these reactors are truly eternal. But the chance of saving these reactors without attempting to do what has never been done before. For many of them will be zero very soon. And for Isa will be zero next year. At bar barring barring any external event. There is nothing we can do about this. I really I really, in the last couple of months tried to be as optimistic as I could be. And then we certainly tried to I don't know find avenues talk to politicians advocate have protests, which is a pretty amazing protests on on. We didn't pretty amazing protests on Saturday. It was it was it was a great protest. Huge thanks to the two guys if they if they are listening to this, YouTube guys, you know who you are. And we all stand on your shoulders for organizing this protest and for doing it and for building the ship there. But this doesn't change the political situation Germany is in political gridlock, without a nuclear German coalition will probably stand until the next election in 2025. At this point, it needs federal elections. All of these reactors will be in a state where they cannot be turned around with out installing new reactor pressure vessels without doing what has never been done before. So the chance of saving the job sites something that we spent the last years fighting for this now is probably zero, the chance of the chance of bringing them back online as zombie reactors with no reactor pressure vessels might exist. There is no way Germany will get around having to get back into nuclear in the future. We building those plants probably is cheaper than building a new EPR. So that probably might be something we will be looking at in the future. But it's also unlikely until damage to the building is done. But as of now, Baron Baron, I don't know Putin invades Estonia or something. Nothing will save the world's greatest nuclear power plants and not German nuclear forever. But this German nuclear which one sled, the technology is actually that and it's more defined, it's it's something that We will have to live with and I I wish the best for my fellow news pros in the world around the fate of German, nuclear, not this drum nuclear but revenue to in general will be in your hands. The harder you turn towards nuclear, the sooner Germany will get to read the INF treaty to re enter in nuclear technology. Nothing has shaken the trust of Germans into the nuclear phase out more than all those countries around us turning towards nuclear. And so more countries more restaurant countries module European more firmly democratic countries turning towards nuclear, building new nuclear extending old nuclear and making rapid progress on building new nuclear will change the situation in Germany. So if you have some affinity for German nuclear, due to probably me I don't know lamenting about it for the seventh time in the year. If you want to do us here in Germany, your favor Do yourself a favor and fight for nuclear in your countries and fight for rapids. We nuclearization in your countries. And if I get the chance, I will might come to you and I will. I will like to protest with you. Because the the fate of Germany lies in the hands of its neighbors.

Chris Keefer  56:55  

All right now. We'll leave it there. Thanks again for coming on the podcast. I'm sure it won't be long to reach out again. But my condolences my friend I know this has been been hard for you.

Noah Rettberg  57:04  

Yeah, it has not been a nice Sunday.

Chris Keefer  57:09  

Okay, my friend all the best

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