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After the March 2011 nuclear power plant accident at Fukushima, Japan, nuclear power output experienced a rapid and large decline in that country as well as Germany. Although the specific reasons for this decline differed between the two countries, it is clear that antinuclear public attitudes were a major factor. Soon after the accident, Germany announced plans to completely phase out its remaining nuclear by 2022.
In paper published today in Energy Policy, we analyze the nature and implications of energy, electricity and CO2 emission changes in Japan and Germany after Fukushima. We also examine how emissions and mortality would have been impacted had these countries reduced their coal and natural gas power output by the same amounts as they reduced nuclear. Lastly, we analyze the potential effects of a complete phaseout of nuclear power in the near-future (2018-2035) for Germany, the U.S., and the rest of Western Europe, where economic factors as well as public policies and sentiment are currently unfavorable toward nuclear power.
Studies - Cuts - Power - Japan - Germany
Consistent with prior studies, we found that the drastic cuts in nuclear power in Japan and Germany led to increased CO2 emissions in the first three years after Fukushima due to higher fossil fuel usage to compensate for lower nuclear power output. This phenomenon has received widespread international media attention.
However, the good news (which has received less attention) is that since 2013, both countries have achieved an overall reduction in their emissions. This was somewhat surprising, as nuclear power was a major non-fossil electricity source in these countries. We suggest that...
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