"Despite all Trittin`s noises about termination: the German nuclear power plants are running and running and running, and will go on running for a long time!" That was the comment by Dr Wilfried Steuer, President of the German Atomic Forum, on the power output figures for German nuclear power plant last year. They produced 161.7 billion kilowatt hours, compared with 170.4 in 1997 - the record year so far. The reason for the decline was down-time, some of it due to political causes.
Since 1988, nuclear energy has been meeting about one-third of Germany`s electricity requirements and about 10 percent of its total energy needs. This can be seen from the nuclear energy results for 1998, published today by the German Atomic Forum in Bonn.
Thanks to nuclear energy, it proved possible once again in 1998 to obviate carbon dioxide emissions totalling about 160 million tons. This is equivalent to the entire annual emission from German road vehicles (18 percent). Since nuclear energy started to be used in Germany in 1961, a total of nearly 2.8 trillion kWh - to be exact, 2,771 billion kWh - of electricity have been generated from uranium and plutonium, thus saving the atmosphere more than 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide.
In the view of the Atomic Forum, these figures demonstrate that nuclear energy is still making an indispensable and environmentally friendly contribution to Germany`s power supply, and that this situation must remain.
According to the output figures from the Atomic Forum, nuclear power plants once again last year operated safely and reliably. No breakdowns occurred which could have endangered human beings or the surrounding area. The reactors were available for power generation on average for 7,657 hours, out of a total of 8,760 in the whole year, which means over 87.4 percent availability. If one bears in mind the planned down-time that has to be devoted to changing the fuel elements and maintenance work, the plants were only unavailable for non-scheduled reasons for 4.1 percent of the time. As Dr Steuer finished by emphasising, they thus "achieved very good figures - despite all the tricky political manoeuvring!"
The table on "1998 operating results from nuclear power plants" can be obtained from our Press Office, Ms Philipp.
DEUTSCHES ATOMFORUM E.V.