Germany exits nuclear power age as last three reactors taken off grid


April 15 (UPI) — The nuclear power era in Germany drew to a close Saturday as utility operators were scheduled to take the nation’s last three remaining plants off the grid in a coordinated move.

The shutdown of the last plant was expected to be carried out shortly before midnight, while it remained unclear which of the three — the Isar 2 plant in Bavaria, the Emsland plant in Lower Saxony or the Neckarwestheim 2 plant in Baden-Württemberg — would be the last to go dark, German public broadcaster ARD reported.


The move ends 62 years of nuclear power in Germany after anti-nuclear sentiment in Europe has been heightened throughout the decades by nuclear accidents in Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima.

Germany’s Green Party has been advocating for the shutdowns for more than a decade, and in 2011 the ruling political coalition under then-Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to a plan that would involve phasing out nuclear energy by 2022.

German Chancellor Olaf Sholz decided keep the remaining plants open until this year as a response to Russian energy supplies being cut off in response to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.


The shutdown of nuclear energy means Germany will, at least temporarily, have to rely more on coal and natural gas, which has the potential to create negative environmental consequences.

While Germany phases out nuclear energy, France remains western Europe’s top nuclear energy producer, providing over half the nuclear power used in the European Union.

China, India and Russia all plan on expanding nuclear energy infrastructure.