The German government has announced plans to phase out all of the nation’s nuclear reactors over the next 11 years, with the final plants targeted for closure in 2022.
In a policy reversal provoked by the nuclear crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who last year said nuclear power was needed as a “bridge” to other sources of power, has called for a fundamental change to Germany’s energy system and a greater reliance on alternative sources of energy.
The government, which took eight older plants offline after the Japan disaster, now says it will shut down six more by 2021 and close the remaining plants a year later. “It’s definite — the latest end for the last three nuclear plants is 2022,” said Norbert Röttgen, Germany’s environment minister.
To help compensate for the lost sources of energy, Germany will introduce initiatives to reduce electricity usage by 10 percent by 2020 and double the share of renewable energy sources to about 35 percent.
Merkel’s policy shift also coincided with a string of losses for her Christian Democrats attributed partly to her support of nuclear power. Most German voters oppose nuclear energy, which provided 23 percent of the nation’s power before its oldest plants were shut down in the days after the Fukushima disaster.
Article courtesy Yale Environment 360.