Tuesday

23rd Apr 2019

Germany to phase out nuclear energy by 2022

  • Roettgen: 'It's definite. The latest end for the last three nuclear power plants is 2022' (Photo: Nicholas Sideras)

The German government announced on Monday (30 May) it will shut down all of its nuclear power plants by 2022, calling the move "definite".

The decision, which would make Germany the first major industrial power to give up on atomic energy, came after painful discussions between the two governing parties, the centre-right CDU of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the liberal FDP.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"It's definite. The latest end for the last three nuclear power plants is 2022. There will be no clause for revision," said environment minister Norbert Roettgen in the early hours of Monday morning, reports the BBC.

Under the planned phase-out, the seven old nuclear plants taken off-grid following the nuclear crisis in Japan's Fukushshima plant in March will remain out of action. Another nuclear plant, Kruemmel, out of action for years due to technical problems, will also not be put back online.

Six additional nuclear reactors will be mothballed by the end of 2021, while the country's three newest plants will follow in 2022.

The decision represents a spectacular u-turn for Chancellor Merkel. At the end of 2010, she had promised, in the face of popular outcry, to extend the life of Germany's 17 reactors until the mid-2030s.

However, the grave problems at the Fukushima plant following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan saw German voters clamouring for reassurance about Germany's plants.

Merkel agreed to a review of nuclear policy but her back-and-forth stance on the issue is widely seen to have cost her at the ballot box in state elections.

The most recent setback occurred last week in Bremen where the anti-nuclear Greens came second, pushing Merkel's CDU into third place.

The nuclear phase-out will mean that Germany has to find other sources for the 23 percent of its energy provided by nuclear plants.

However, environment minister Roettgen sees great economic opportunities in taking the non-nuclear path.

"If we can manage this process intelligently, we will be able to increase Germany's competitiveness enormously and reap enormous pay-offs for the economy," he told the Financial Times recently.

"Everything we have to invent will provide an opportunity for our engineers to live out their ingenuity – efficiency technologies, or renewable energy technology itself."

Germany to let slip 2020 climate target

Prospective governing coalition partners give up on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in 2020, saying instead they will achieve that in the early 2020s.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us