Germany's Lucky Day
It may be too early to say much, but it looks like the present leaders of Germany have decided to do something really big, and even unbelievable. They are ordering the phasing out of not just some but ALL its nuclear power plants, with the last to flip its big switch to "Off" only 10 short years from now!
Fukushima did it. The Germans don't want that recent Japanese nightmare, which is still not over, to be repeated anywhere on their often beautiful landscape for any reason.
The corporate interests, which must be as strong in Germany as they are anywhere else, are bound to rise up in arms over this, and in the face of that you have to admire the leadership that reached that decision.
Right now that leadership is headed by a woman. Her name is Angela Merkel, and not long ago she provided a preview of this present decisiveness, when B. Netanyahu called and began lecturing her, probably thinking that, because of guilt, Germany was overdue to be added to that other large country that he and his predecessors had already whipped into line some time back. But guilt has a half-life that is exactly as short as that of plutonium is long. Angela Merkel didn't at all appreciate Netanyahu's attitude, and she told him in no uncertain terms to go shove it. As the leader of a certifiably heavyweight country, Merkel had a better appreciation than some people of what she could and should do when a decidedly lighter weight tries to bring a verbal ruler down across her knuckles.
Similarly, she probably can close those plants without unbearable pain, since Germany depends on them for only about 23 percent of its electricity, generated by just 17 plants, as compared to the 55 that were in operation in Japan, the 58 that still are in France and the 104 in the U.S.
Though it is unclear whether or not it will be, this decision by the Germans should be watched closely in the U.S., because it has nuclear power plants sitting in a lot of places where the convenience goes from "I guess it's okay" to "WHAT WERE WE THINKING!" in a big hurry when anything goes wrong. The plants at Lake Anna, only about 50 miles from the Nation's Capital (and from me!), and at Indian Point, the same distance up the Hudson from New York City, are just two of many.
One truly serious nuclear accident is all it takes, and on the ordinary scale of things it doesn't take much to happen. Also the harmful effects of such a disaster can spread far beyond the immediate area of the culprits.
Strangely the Fascists of World War 2 might already have helped make it easy for the Germans. With them having furnished such an appalling example, maybe the Germans don't have a modern version of that party ready to throw its shoulders against anything that could be for the better, as compared to the U.S. and that Tea Party that is now busy wriggling up the arteries,veins, intestines, and other interior channels of that older elephantine political entity that is already totally invested in stomping heavily on the brakes to bring to a screaming halt any effort that makes even the remotest sense.