Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, will shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022, a decision that would make it the first major industrialised power to go nuclear-free in the aftermath of the atomic disaster in Japan. Germany’s coalition government announced the decision after seven hours of negotiations that stretched into the small hours at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office. “We want the electricity of the future to be safe, reliable and economically viable,” Merkel said.
Merkel pushed through measures in 2010 to extend lifespan of the country’s 17 reactors, with the last one scheduled to go offline in 2036, but she reversed her pro-nuclear stance after the earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daichi plant on March 11, 2011, triggering nuclear meltdowns.
Germany’s energy supply chain “needs a new architecture,” necessitating huge efforts in boosting renewable energies, efficiency gains and overhauling the electricity grid, Merkel said.
To make up for the loss of nuclear energy, the German government will begin to switch to renewable energy and increase investments in energy research.