106 - Is Germany at risk of a nuclear meltdown?

In this episode, we look at Germany's nuclear energy future... if it has one at all. Plus big news about this very podcast! 

Germany began using nuclear energy in 1969, and by 2011 obtained one-quarter of its electricity from nuclear energy. However, with public opinion in Germany broadly opposed to nuclear power, the current government has begun the phasing out of this energy source.

Eight reactors were shut down in 2011, triggered in part due to the meltdown in Fukushima, Japan. We travel to defunct Rheinsberg nuclear power plant with journalist Jonas Schönfelder find out more about German nuclear energy and what happens to a reactor after you shut it down. We also speak to sustainable energy expert, Professor Ortwin Renn

We'll be asking whether the shutdown is just a populist policy brought about by hysteria and misinformation and can green power really provide a viable alternative.

In this month's edition of Destination Germany, Rob takes us west to Cologne, to hear about Germany's most visited landmark and World Heritage Site, Cologne Cathedral. It's Rob's last Destination Germany and his last episode ever! 

Also on the show, a bloody stabbing on a train in Bavaria sparks worries over terrorist attacks on German soil. Just weeks later, a supposed plot to attack Dusseldorf with machine guns and explosives is uncovered. We're joined by Olcan Hiller to discuss our top story.

If you'd like to help us out, please consider buying us a beer! For the cost of one beer a month, you can help keep this show going! 

Tanks a lot: Germany wins Strong Europe Tank Challenge

Leopard 2A6 tanks helped Germany win the Strong Europe Tank Challenge 2016! (Image: US Army/public domain)

Leopard 2A6 tanks helped Germany win the Strong Europe Tank Challenge 2016! (Image: US Army/public domain)

Sure, Germany may have come last in the Eurovision Song Contest but at least other countries know to watch out on the battlefield. That's because Germany came out on top in the 2016 Strong Europe Tank Challenge!

The competition was hosted in Bavaria by the US Army and the German Bundeswehr as an opportunity to train and show off the firepower of six NATO nations. 

Tank crews are tested in categories such as vehicle identification, battle damage assessment, mounted orienteering, camouflage and dealing with improvised bombs. 

Germany's Mountain Panzer Battalion 7, Panzer Brigade 12 were the top team using the Leopard 2A6 - a model which improves upon the Cold War-era Leopard 2. The United States failed to gain a place on the winner's podium.

“It was challenging, but it was a lot of fun,” said German tank commander Staff Sgt. Tim Walter, according to Stars and Stripes. “We’re all happy... we worked so hard for this.”

Meet the manga girl singing for Germany's honour at Eurovision 2016

It's Eurovision time again! The song contest where practically every country in Europe (plus Australia, for some reason) competes in a live television musical extravaganza. 

Singing for Germany tonight is Jamie Lee, whose song 'Ghost' is slick, tame but interesting enough. Weirdly, she's dressed like a Japanese manga creation, despite the lack of any oriental style to the song. 

Lena Meyer-Landrut proved simple, catchy pop songs can breakthrough the camp craziness of the Contest when she won Eurovision for Germany in 2010

Can Jamie do the same? Judge for yourself by watching her performing 'Ghost' below! Don't worry if you're not in Europe, the grand final will be broadcast worldwide online from 9pm Central European Time.



Jan Böhmermann slams RTL in his comeback show

Satirical superstar Jan Böhmermann used his first show after the Schmähkritik scandal to stir up more trouble among the establishment. 

This time his target was trash TV in the form of RTL's Schwiegertochter Gesucht ('Wanted: Daughter-in-Law'). The dating show puts presenter Vera Int-Veens on the case of 'hopeless' romantics who are desperate to find love. The trouble is, many of the candidates are down on their luck and aren't always fully aware of how the show will depict them.

Böhmermann saw satirical fruit ripe for the picking and so planted two actors in the programme. Using hidden cameras, it was revealed that participants in the show only get €150 compensation for up to 30 days of contracted filming and that producers stage interviews to depict them as ridiculous.

Perhaps worse, they ignored the seemingly alcoholic tendencies of one Böhmermann mole.

For years, satire in Germany was simply standing on stage and saying mildly offensive things about German politicians in a tradition known as Kabarett. Now, with Jan Böhmermann, satire has finally grown up by adhering to television's golden rule: don't just tell us, show us. 

Watch his Schwiegertochter Gesucht feature below (in German):