Three nuclear power facilities in Germany will be shut down on Friday as part of the country’s plan to phase out nuclear power.
According to Federal Environment and Nuclear Safety Minister Steffi Lemke, the nuclear phaseout makes the country safer and helps to minimize radioactive waste. He also noted that finding a final repository for high-level radioactive waste, as well as permanent solutions for low- and medium-level radioactive waste, is now critical.
Following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel accelerated the phaseout. The power plants at Brokdorf, Schleswig-Holstein, Grohnde, Lower Saxony, and Gundremmingen C, Bavaria, were shut down on Friday.
The final three nuclear power facilities in Germany — Emsland in Lower Saxony, Isar 2 in Bavaria, and Neckarwestheim 2 in Baden-Württemberg — will be shut down by the end of 2022.
Since 2011, Germany has been systematically and reliably putting an end to a particularly troublesome technology. Nuclear power generates around ten percent of Germany’s electricity. Germany would have to significantly expand its reliance on highly polluting coal-fired power as a result of the shutdown, which has provoked criticism.
A crucial necessity for orienting Germany’s economy and industry toward climate neutrality is reliable and sustainably generated electricity. This puts Berlin at odds with France, where nuclear power accounts for the majority of the country’s energy mix.
France plans to reduce nuclear power’s portion of its electricity mix from 75% to 50% by 2035, but President Emmanuel Macron declared in November that the country would resume nuclear reactor building while continuing to promote renewable energies.
Macron also announced a €1 billion investment in research and development, with a focus on compact modular reactors.
Belgium recently announced that all of its nuclear power facilities will be shut down by 2025, although it aims to invest €100 million in new nuclear reactors and research.