Au revoir, Germany’s ‘Atomkraftwerke’

(EurActiv, 12 Apr 2023) On April 15, Germany will shut down its last remaining nuclear power plants, marking the end of the country’s more than 60-year foray into nuclear power and a long-time era of Franco-German cooperation.

In 1961, Germany’s first nuclear power plant, a small trial plant named Kahl, began supplying power to the grid. This was followed by years of rapid expansion, but a comprehensive counter-culture developed, culminating in the founding of Germany’s Green party.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 sounded the death knell for nuclear power in Germany, with the largest anti-nuclear demonstration ever held bringing together some 250,000 people. On May 30, the German government led by conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a plan to shut all nuclear reactors by 2022.

On April 15, the last remaining three reactors will be shut down. “The nuclear power plants now will sooner or later be dismantled,” Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck told RND on April 9.

For months, the plants had been operating in emergency mode as fuel rods were squeezed for any remaining energy, and Europe’s energy crisis had delayed their planned shutdown at the end of 2022 by a few months.

Germany’s last nuclear reactors fed 70 gigawatt-hours a day into the grid, covering about 3 to 7% of German electricity demand depending on the time of day.

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EurActiv, 12 Apr 2023: Au revoir, Germany’s ‘Atomkraftwerke’