Ethics Commission to Assess Nuclear Power Phase-out

Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced to set up a new ethics commission for secure energy supply to assess ethical questions of the future of nuclear power. The commission’s findings shall supplement the work of the Reactor Safety Commission (RSK). As part of the 3-month moratorium on the recently decided nuclear power extension, the new Ethics Commission shall provide input to the government’s risk assessment of nuclear power generation.

The announcement came after a meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel, Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen and Economics and Technology Minister Rainer Brüderle with the premiers of the five German states where nuclear power plants are located.

The Ethics Commission will be co-chaired by the former Environment Minister and founding director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Professor Dr. Klaus Töpfer and the President of the German Research Foundation, Prof. Dr. Ing. Matthias Kleiner. They shall be joined by other senior figures from politics, the churches and the science sector. The commission will advise the government as a whole, and shall administratively be associated with the Chancellery.

The commission shall assess and evaluate the risks for the Germany society from operating nuclear power plants. The Ethics Commission’s work will supplement the more technical  assessment of the Reactor Safety Commission.  During the moratorium, the Reactor Safety Commission will conduct additional safety inspections in the German power plants. Mrs Merkel pointed out that the safety checks included new questions which have arisen in the wake of the nuclear accident in Japan.

The work of the Ethics Commission shall be aimed at achieving a speedy transition into a renewable energy era, the government press release says. The ethic commission’s task was to assess nuclear safety while showing ways to achieve the transition. “I can’t exclude the possibility that the inspections will have an impact on the operational life spans of the nuclear power plants,” Mrs Merkel said.

Yesterday’s meeting will be followed up by a meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel with the premiers of all 16 of Germany’s states on 15 April, in which Chancellor Merkel wants to discuss ways to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.

Source: Federal Government

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