Germany is shutting down half of its remaining nuclear power plants

BERLIN – Germany will shut down half of the six nuclear power plants still in operation on Friday, a year before the country draws the last curtain on its decades of use of nuclear power.

The decision to phase out nuclear energy and switch from fossil fuels to renewable energies was first made in 2002 by the center-left government Gerhard Schröder.

His successor Angela Merkel reversed her decision to extend the life of the German nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011 and set 2022 as the final date for their shutdown.

The three reactors, which are now being decommissioned, started up for the first time in the mid-1980s. Together they supplied millions of German households with electricity for almost four decades.

One of the plants – Brokdorf, about 40 kilometers northwest of Hamburg on the Elbe – became a particular focus of the anti-nuclear protests that were fueled by the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union in 1986.

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The other two plants are Grohnde, about 40 kilometers south of Hanover, and Grundremmingen, 80 kilometers west of Munich.

Some in Germany have called for the decision to phase out nuclear energy to be reconsidered, as the power plants that are already in operation produce relatively little carbon dioxide. Proponents of nuclear energy argue that it can help Germany meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

But the German government said this week that shutting down all nuclear power plants next year and then phasing out coal by 2030 will not affect the country’s energy security or the goal of making Europe’s largest economy “climate neutral” by 2045.

“With the massive expansion of renewable energies and the accelerated expansion of the power grid, we can show that this is possible in Germany,” said Economics and Climate Minister Robert Habeck.

The remaining three nuclear power plants Emsland, Isar and Neckarwestheim will be shut down by the end of 2022.

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Source of the contribution: News 4jax

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