Berlin, May 31 (PTI): 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. “The events in Japan have shown us that even things that seem all but impossible scientifically can, in fact, happen,” she said.
Minister of Ecology Norbert Roettgen of the Christian Democratic Union party made the announcement after negotiations with coalition partner, the Liberal Party, which had been opposed to setting a date for decommissioning the nuclear facilities. “After long consultations, there is now an agreement by the coalition to end nuclear energy,” he said.
“This decision is consistent, decisive and clear,” he said, describing the plan as “irreversible”. Merkel pushed through measures in 2010 to extend lifespan of the country’s 17 reactors, but she reversed her pro-nuclear stance after the earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant on March 11, triggering nuclear meltdowns.