German cabinet passes nuclear exit bill

Jun 06, 2011
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with Economy Minister Philipp Roesler before a cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin. The German cabinet signed off on a bill phasing out nuclear power in Europe's biggest economy by 2022, prompted by the disaster in March at Japan's Fukushima plant.

The German cabinet signed off Monday on a bill phasing out nuclear power in Europe's biggest economy by 2022, prompted by the disaster in March at Japan's Fukushima plant.

"I am convinced that the government's decision today represents a milestone in the economic and social development of our country," Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen told reporters in Berlin.

The pace of the switch-off is faster than that announced last week by Chancellor , with the nine reactors currently on line due to be turned off between 2015 and 2022, according to the text of the bill.

Previously Merkel had said that six reactors would shut down in 2021 and the three most modern in 2022. The seven oldest reactors were already shut down following the Fukushima crisis.

A further reactor has been shut for years because of technical problems.

The decision represents a humbling U-turn for Merkel, who in late 2010 took the unpopular decision to extend the lifetime of Germany's 17 reactors by an average of 12 years, keeping them open until the mid-2030s.

The bill focuses on ways to fill the gap left by nuclear power, on which Germany relies for some 22 percent of its energy needs.

This includes building new coal and gas power plants, expanding the production of electricity with like solar and , reducing Germany's and improving transmission networks.

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User comments : 13

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Koen
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 06, 2011
All other Western countries should adopt Germany's feed-in tarif legislation for solar cells. Germany will replace nuclear for solar during the coming decades.
Edib0y
3.9 / 5 (7) Jun 06, 2011
That is just dumb. This is what happens when decisions are made based on emotion instead of science. "This includes building new coal and gas power plants". How is that better? That's far worse for environment and health.
Gilbert
1 / 5 (4) Jun 06, 2011
looks like gas and coal would be temporary until there is a mass uptake of solar and wind, coal and gas plants are incredibly cheap to create, run and decommission.
ShotmanMaslo
3 / 5 (6) Jun 06, 2011
Replacing the best source of electricity known to humanity with dangerous fossil fuels and expensive renewables. This bill is not based on rational decisions, but on fear-mongering and populism.
marc_hemingway1
3 / 5 (2) Jun 07, 2011
coal and gas are the most backward and hazardous means of electricity that exist.

as the others have posted, nuclear energy is our most efficient practical source of electricity; as well as being 100% better for the atmosphere than coal and gas so long as updated to modern safety regulations.
marc_hemingway1
3 / 5 (1) Jun 07, 2011
i am really disappointed with Merkel on this one. However, she is way better that Germany's last chancellor.
Koen
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 07, 2011
Typical "physics lover" comments thus far. Uranium mines are getting depleted for instance, and Fukushima shows "modern" savety regulations can't prevent total nuclear disasters. Congratulations Germany, for switching to solar power. The German feed-in-tariff law for solar energy is a huge success and this law should become effective in every industrial country. Upgrading the nuclear energy technology is doubtful (thorium really save??, breeder reactors stable??), while solar cell technology is still in its infancy and can be upgraded to become much more economical.
ShotmanMaslo
2 / 5 (4) Jun 07, 2011
Solar energy research received immense amounts of funding and attention over last 20 years, as well as subsidies. Result? Still not comparable in cost/TWh to nuclear by far. Solar cells have laughable efficiency, require toxic chemicals during manufacture, degrade over time, and work only during the day. That is not the energy source for 21.st century civilisation, much less the one we want to become in the future.
Gilbert
not rated yet Jun 09, 2011
well looks like fusion is only a few decades off (~ 2050) so does it really matter, I'm sure Germany's emissions will pale in comparison to say the US/ Australia/ Indonesia!
hush1
1 / 5 (1) Jun 11, 2011
Americans. This is your opportunity. Make a killing. Cheap fuel rods for sale. Castor casings guaranteed. Hurry. Limited offer and supply.
Pkunk_
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 13, 2011
Typical "physics lover" comments thus far. Uranium mines are getting depleted for instance, and Fukushima shows "modern" savety regulations can't prevent total nuclear disasters. Congratulations Germany, for switching to solar power. The German feed-in-tariff law for solar energy is a huge success and this law should become effective in every industrial country. Upgrading the nuclear energy technology is doubtful (thorium really save??, breeder reactors stable??), while solar cell technology is still in its infancy and can be upgraded to become much more economical.


There is nothing "modern" abt Fukushima. In fact it underlines how much better safety is in 2nd and 3rd generation commercial plants unlike the 1st gen designs which Fukishima was based on.

Isn't it pathetic that the Germans spend billions on installing solar panels and wind power to "fight global warming" and then throw away all those gains by just building 2 coal plants.
Shelgeyr
1 / 5 (2) Jun 14, 2011
The Germans will regret this.

Except... there must have been a ray of wisdom shining in there somewhere because they gave themselves up to a decade-ish to change their minds. That's smart politics (even if IMHO dishonorable). They get the benefit of stoking the public reaction, and then later when the true forthcoming costs start to sink in, they can abandon the plans with most/all the plants still in operation.

I'm betting that come 2022, Germany will still have plenty of nuclear power. Perhaps even more than now. I can't back that up of course - I'm just predicting.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (2) Jun 15, 2011
As I said, here are the results of this bill:

http://www.treehu...ants.php

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