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Germany closing its nuclear power plants for good this week

Germany is set to close its remaining three nuclear power plants by Saturday.

The country started to phase out nuclear power over 20 years ago. However, plans were accelerated following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.

Despite subsequent anti-nuclear protests in Germany, Angela Merkel, then the chancellor of Germany, decided to move ahead with plans for Germany’s final nuclear power to be shut down by 2022.

Since 2003, sixteen reactors were shut down.

Image Protester at anti-nuclear rally in front of the Gundremmingen Power Plant, March 2012

After Russia cut off European gas supplies during its war in Ukraine, Germany had to delay closing three plants, triggering fears of a winter fuel shortage.

The facilities in Emsland in Lower Saxony will close this week with an amended deadline of 15/04/2023.

This comes at a time when many countries, including the UK, are looking to nuclear power for greener energy. Nuclear power generates electricity without emitting any greenhouse gases like fossil fuels.

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If it is produced at home, it can increase energy security and help countries replace Russian gas. It is expensive and takes a lot of time to build.

The UK government announced funding for PS700m towards the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk in November.

Ministers stated that the plant would provide power for six million homes over the next 50 years and create 10,000 skilled jobs.

Continue reading:

Why the taxpayers will bear the cost of Sizewell C

China buys Sizewell C, as the UK confirms its PS700m stake at nuclear project

Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant delayed yet again at a further PS3bn expense

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced plans for Great British Nuclear in his spring budget, though it was previously announced more than once.

He stated that the new flagship body would provide “opportunities throughout the nuclear supply chain to help us provide up to 25% of our electricity by 2050”.

Image: Steam rises out of the cooling towers at Germany’s Janschwalde co-fired power station. Pic by AP

Germany is still facing a problem with how it will replace its nuclear power stations.

While coal still makes up a third of German electricity production today, the company has announced plans for closing all coal-fired power stations in the country by 2038. The first wave will be in 2030.

Germany is investing heavily in wind and solar technologies. However, many are concerned that the current pace of renewables progress will not be sufficient to reach its green energy goals.


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