The last three nuclear reactors are scheduled to go offline this year. The opponents of this power generation cheer. Experts and parties from the FDP to the CDU are now getting deep worry lines on their foreheads. In his extensive long-term observation, Carsten Rau compares two contrary subject areas: How effective is renewable energy production really? And what immense effort is involved in dismantling the nuclear facilities and disposing of the radioactive waste?
Jörg Meyer leads as the protagonist through “Nuclear Power Forever”. The engineer is responsible for the decommissioning of mechanical equipment in the Greifswald nuclear power plant. Archive films from GDR television show the pride with which the plant was put into operation in the 1970s: “Anyone who can develop and build this is at the forefront of the world’s nuclear energy engineers,” according to socialist propaganda, which added: “Let the atom be a worker and not a soldier”.
However, only one of several German nuclear power plants was located in Greifswald. The film therefore expands the perspective on the question of where the irradiated waste from all these plants in this country should actually be taken.
In a conversation with Steffen Kanitz, Managing Director of the Federal Agency for Disposal, it becomes clear which issues still need to be negotiated. After the end of the fiercely contested Gorleben repository, the search for a suitable site where fuel rods from German nuclear power plants can be disposed of should be carried out scientifically and at the same time in a way that is close to the citizen.
The film not only repeats well-known arguments for the nuclear phase-out. A skeptical voice has its say in Joachim Vanzetta, Director of Network Management at Amprion, the second largest German high-voltage power grid operator.
Vanzetta calculates that there are few days when wind and solar power plants provide “only one percent” of the electricity required.
This complex argumentative documentary is definitely worth seeing. It illuminates both sides. Carsten Rau by no means closes his eyes to the risks of possible radiation. In a pleasantly calm way, he also hints that the energy transition in Germany, no matter how necessary, may have been launched too hastily.