In Reversal, Germany to Close Nuclear Plants by 2022
By JUDY DEMPSEY and JACK EWING
BERLIN — The German government agreed on Monday to phase out all nuclear power by 2022, a sharp reversal by Chancellor Angela Merkel aimed at appeasing the country’s intensified antinuclear movement. The announcement came after marathon talks held at the chancellery on a new report by the Ethics Commission for Security Energy that recommended closing all 17 of the country’s nuclear plants.
Mrs. Merkel has been grappling with the sudden deepening of German distrust of nuclear power since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan set off the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. Within days of the disaster, she reversed a pro-nuclear policy adopted just last year and temporarily shut down seven of Germany’s older plants; one had been taken off line earlier.
On Friday, state environment ministers agreed that the seven older plants should remain closed. The energy security commission endorsed that recommendation, and said the others should be phased out gradually.