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« Don’t follow Germany’s rejection of nuclear power, Sir David King warns | Main | SK OptionTrader Outperforms S&P Eight Times Over »

Germany to end to nuclear power by 2022

Angela Merkel looking at tad tired.JPG
Angela Merkel

This announcement out of Germany is surprising as they don't tell us just how the 22% shortfall in electricity demand will be made up, we can only guess that they buy more from the french, which is nuclear generated, but not in their back yard.

Germany has announced plans to become the first major industrialised power to shut down all its nuclear plants, with a phase-out due to be wrapped up by 2022.

Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen announced the government's decision, which was prompted by the Japanese nuclear disaster, in the early hours of this morning, describing it as "irreversible".

He said the vast majority of Germany's 17 reactors would be off line by the end of 2011.

Mr Roettgen was speaking after a meeting of the ruling coalition led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, which lasted from Sunday evening into the small hours of today.

Germany has 17 nuclear reactors on its territory, eight of which are off the electricity grid.

Seven of those off line are the country's oldest nuclear reactors, which the federal government shut down for three months pending a safety probe after the Japanese atomic emergency at Fukushima in March.

The eighth is the Kruemmel plant, in northern Germany, which has been mothballed for years because of technical problems.

The decision comes after the environment ministers from all 16 German regional states on Friday called for the temporary order on the seven plants to be made permanent.

Mr Roettgen said today that none of the eight reactors off line would be reactivated.

The decision is effectively a return to the timetable set by the previous Social Democrat-Green coalition government a decade ago.

And it is a humbling U-turn for Mrs Merkel, who at the end of last year decided to extend the lifetime of Germany's 17 reactors by an average of 12 years, which would have kept them open until the mid-2030s.

That decision was unpopular in Germany even before the earthquake and tsunami in March that severely damaged the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan, prompting Mrs Merkel's review of nuclear policy.

Her zig-zagging on what since the 1970s has been a highly emotive issue in the country has cost her since at the ballot box.

Mrs Merkel herself has blamed the Fukushima nuclear disaster for recent defeats in state elections.

In the latest, on May 23, the anti-nuclear Greens pushed her conservative party into third place in a vote in the northern state of Bremen, the first time they had scored more votes than the conservatives in a regional or federal election.

Monday's decision will make Germany the first major industrial power to give up atomic energy.

Germany map 30 May 2011.JPG

But it also means that the country will have to find the 22 per cent of its electricity needs covered by nuclear reactors from another source.

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sk chart 22 May 2011.JPG

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Reader Comments (11)

and then what? shiver in the dark? they'll reverse this decision once they realize the implications.

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBee Thousand

Germany will have to fire up a lot of natural gas burners to replace the electrical capacity they're going to lose. Nobody wants those in their backyard either and how does that make the country "greener"?

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdaveydog

It really sounds like a politically motivated decision to win green votes for a party failing at the polls. I cannot agree with Bee 1000; this decision is irreversible. It would be interesting to see what they do to replace the energy in such a highly industrialized country. As stated, they will likely purchase nuclear power from France, so they aren't against nuclear, just NIMBY.

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

Agreed with all of the above - we'll watch for a subtle reversal somewhere down the line.

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUranium Stocks

They've already "phased out" nuclear a few years ago and then reversed that decision. Interesting that they might buy electricity from France. I have a hard time seeing Germany beholden to France for it's power. I bet a US nickel that they reverse this decision:)

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBee Thousand

Maybe they will reverse the decision, but if the current motivation is political, it would be political suicide to change it back. The France option of buying electricity looks like a better option than buying natural gas from Russia. That would be a disastrous decision, as Russia has already shown it's power in controlling the energy flow to Europe. With the German industrial base being so large, they need consistent, steady flows of electricity that solar and wind cannot provide. It's either nuclear or gas.

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

I wonder what is the French spare capacity to keep increasing electricity sales across its borders ?

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWarwick Hughes

The Germans may just come up with some new technology. This is the era of high tech.

May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Ell

Well, if the Germans can handle their electricity needs until they develop something new, I suppose it is a possibility. It would seem that any new technology will take quite awhile, yet they are shutting down nuclear now. I still say it is a political move to gain the green vote for a party failing in the polls.

June 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

it's totally a political decision. it makes no practical sense. as far as new technology - cold fusion! (kind of an inside joke. i was at georgia tech in the '90s when they had the big cold fusion scandal.)

June 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBee Thousand

Great story for the environmental movenment and as much as I support the jobs virginia uranium mining will bring here where I live I def support solar power, solar farms, wind energy, and renewable sources of energy. Nuclear energy is fading out slowly.

June 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoey Williams

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