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Germany Plans to Shut Down All Nuclear Plants by 2022

Germany Plans to Shut Down All Nuclear Plants by 2022

In March, Care2 reported on Germany temporarily closing seven aging nuclear plants that began operating before 1980. At the time, Germany promised to examine the possibilities for accelerating its switch to renewable energy sources.

Today, the German environment minister announced that Germany will shut down all of the country’s nuclear power plants by the year 2022. According to the CBC, the seven plants previously closed will remain closed and the remaining ten nuclear power plants will be shut down by 2022 (see map by Spiegel for details on location of plants). 

This move represents a significant about-face for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, shown in the above image on an election poster posed with The Simpsons’ Montgomery Burns with the slogan “We’re voting for nuclear power.” The 180 degree reversal of Merkel’s energy policy came after the earthquake and nuclear disater in Japan and accelerates the previous plan, which had scheduled an end to nuclear power in the country in 2036.

A big job
The Germans will have a lot of work to do over the next decade or two. Currently, only about 17 percent of Germany’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources like wind, solar and hydroelectric. Just under a quarter of Germany’s electricity came from nuclear power as of March 2011, just before the seven reactors were taken offline. Part of Germany’s energy plan is to increase the share of renewable energy to around 50 percent. (Source: CBC)

Germany’s Spiegel wrote a fascinating article looking at the difference in the language in the reactions to the announcement in each of Germany’s newspapers, from the Conservative right to the more left wing papers.  While the conservative papers characterize the move as a “creeping rejection of the economic model which has transformed Germany into one of the richest countries in the world” and expresses concern about the cost of the new energy approach to Germans, the more left-leaning papers have characterized it as a “historic moment” because no industrialized country has ever set out a roadmap like this for switching to sustainable energy. Germany’s Die Tageszeitung even goes as far as calling this a “moment like the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

The decision certainly is a historic one. If Germany is successful in meeting its targets without significant economic implications, this will hopefully provide a model and inspiration for other industrialized countries to do the same.

Related posts:

Germany Closes 7 Aging Nuclear Plants as EU Calls for Nuclear Plant Stress Tests

Japan Scraps Plan for 14 New Nuclear Plants

Germany’s First Green State Governor

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Annie blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.

 

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Photo credit: hcmeier on flickr

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68 comments

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10:34AM PDT on May 29, 2012

lol Mr Burns

12:13AM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

Yes, Germany is doing well to close down nuclear energy plants, and build and invest in solar and wind. Other countries would do well to build and invest in solar and wind, and also to close down nuclear power plants.


12:12AM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

Yes, Germany is doing well to close down nuclear energy plants, and build and invest in solar and wind. Other countries would do well to build and invest in solar and wind, and also to close down nuclear power plants.

12:05AM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

Yes, Germany is doing well to close nuclear power plants down, and to invest in solar and wind.

4:18PM PDT on Oct 24, 2011

It's long overdue!

6:53AM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

cool.

1:33AM PDT on Sep 3, 2011

awesome

1:30AM PDT on Sep 3, 2011

We should all follow Germany and choose alternative energy solutions and close nuclear power plants.

2:15AM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

Late, but i hope this is true. Because it happens too often, that policians and others tell lies to get more influence and more power (or to keep it). Hopefully other countries recognize it, too, that nuclear power is an "Pandora's Box" and that the only possiblity is if there will be more nuclear waste and more nuclear catastrophes, or not.

"We" destroy everything around us and "we" forget, that everything is important to survive, too.

As little child i thought that rain is when God and the angels cry - because "we" humans have forgotten that we need this "intelligence", someone who could help... if "we" hadn't turned away for many centuries ago...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten." (Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

12:25AM PDT on Jun 21, 2011

The upfront cost of constructing a nuclear power plant is astronomical......why isn't that kind of money being put into clean alternatives? Who's benefiting?

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