In wake of Japan’s Nuclear Crisis, Germany to Close All Nuclear Plants by 2022

The German government agreed on Monday to phase out all nuclear power by 2022, a sharp reversal by Chancellor Angela Merkel aimed at appeasing the country’s intensified antinuclear movement. The announcement came after marathon talks held at the chancellery on a new report by the Ethics Commission for Security Energy that recommended closing all 17 of the country’s nuclear plants.Enlarge This ImageIngo Wagner/DPA, via Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesAnti-nuclear activists protested near the Unterweser nuclear power plant near the northern German city of Kleinensiel, on April 25, 2011.“We want the electricity of the future to be safe, but also to remain reliable and affordable,” Mrs. Merkel said in a statement on the government Web site announcing the change.Mrs. Merkel has been grappling with the sudden deepening of German distrust of nuclear power since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan set off the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. Within days of the disaster, she reversed a pro-nuclear policy adopted just last year and temporarily shut down seven of Germany’s older plants; one had been taken off line earlier.

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