Q&A: Why is Germany phasing out nuclear power - and why now?

(Clean Energy Wire, 14 Apr 2023) Nuclear power production in Germany comes to an end on 15 April 2023, marking a milestone in the long and controversial process of the technology's phase-out in the country.

Europe’s energy crisis, fuelled by the fallout of Russia’s war against Ukraine, had sparked a fresh debate about nuclear power's future, but ultimately the remaining three reactors' runtime was only extended by three months to support the electricity system.

The phase-out, which was endorsed by consecutive governments, is criticised for complicating the country's path to climate neutrality by 2045. Proponents argue the technology can deliver energy reliably without causing direct emissions at a time when fossil energy use needs to be reduced as fast as possible - and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar PV cannot yet fully support the country’s electricity needs. So what are the reasons for Germany's phase-out decision, and how will it affect the country’s CO2 footprint, energy mix, and supply security?


  1. Did Germany reconsider its nuclear phase-out in light of the energy crisis?
  2. How did the nuclear phase-out come about in Germany?
  3. Why the nuclear phase-out was the enabler of the energy transition
  4. Why isn’t Germany phasing out coal before nuclear?
  5. What do different stakeholders in Germany think about the nuclear exit?
  6. Will Germany emit more CO2 because of the nuclear phase-out?
  7. How does Germany want to make net-zero happen without nuclear?
  8. Why doesn’t Germany get an energy system with both renewables AND nuclear?
  9. Will Germany become dependent on (nuclear) power imports from abroad?
  10. What’s more expensive – renewables or nuclear?
  11. Shouldn’t Germany – like other countries – embrace and support the use of new small modular reactors?
  12. What is different in Germany compared to other countries in Europe which embrace nuclear as a CO2-free solution?

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Clean Energy Wire, 14 Apr 2023: Q&A: Why is Germany phasing out nuclear power - and why now?