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Germany closes its last three nuclear reactors

Germany is closing its last three nuclear reactors this Saturday evening, the culmination of a long-standing exit from atomic energy which remains controversial in the context of the climate emergency.

At midnight at the latest, the Isar 2 (south-east), Neckarwestheim (south-west) and Emsland (north-west) power stations will be disconnected from the electricity grid.

The German government had granted them a reprieve of a few weeks, compared to the judgment initially set for December 31, but without calling into question the decision to turn the page.

Europe’s largest economy will thus open a new chapter, after being challenged to wean itself off fossil fuels, while managing the gas crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine.

The exit from nuclear power comes a long way. After an initial decision by Berlin in the early 2000s to gradually abandon the atom, ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel accelerated the process after the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Since 2003, Germany has already closed 16 reactors.

The winter finally passed without a shortage, Russian gas was replaced by other suppliers, but the consensus around phasing out nuclear power has crumbled. In a recent poll for the public broadcaster ARD, 59% of respondents believe that abandoning nuclear power in this context is not a good idea.

Germany prefers to focus on its goal of covering 80% of its electricity needs with renewables by 2030, while closing its coal-fired power plants by 2038 at the latest.



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