The last three German nuclear power plants were officially closed after this weekend. They actually had to close last year, but due to the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, that closure was postponed in the fall. Today, the nuclear power plants in the states of Lower Saxony, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg will actually close.
According to the schedule, the last three nuclear power plants will all be closed by midnight. The production of the power stations has already been reduced in recent years. Today, the last shifts are screwing it down even further, until the generation of energy is finished around midnight. After this, the demolition of the three power plants will begin, which will take years.
After weeks of disagreement in the coalition, Chancellor Scholz decided in October last year to keep the third active nuclear power plant open until today at the latest. Earlier, the nuclear power plant in Lower Saxony, which borders the Netherlands, would close on January 1 this year.
33 nuclear reactors
The so-called Atomausstieg was accelerated in 2011 after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. Fearing new accidents and problems with the storage of nuclear waste, the German government decided to stop using nuclear energy. At the end of last year, work was already underway on the decommissioning of 33 other nuclear reactors that once generated electricity.
The closures happen in reasonable silence. However, several (small) actions by anti-nuclear energy groups have been announced.
There were demonstrations and ‘closing parties’ at various locations, as well as protests from people who would have preferred the plants to remain open, as can be seen in this video;
In order to meet energy needs, the government says that more use will have to be made of energy generated by coal-fired power stations and gas in the short term. The country is making great efforts to generate more energy with the sun and wind, but that is not enough yet.
Germany is the largest energy consumer in Europe and was faced with an enormous task due to the Atomausstieg. At that time, almost a quarter of all the energy it consumed came from nuclear power plants. That energy therefore had to come from somewhere else, preferably from sustainable sources, such as wind turbines and solar panels. However, construction is progressing too slowly to make up for the shortage.
Germany decided earlier to stop generating electricity with coal-fired power stations. Gas was supposed to be the transitional energy source, but that plan was canceled due to the war in Ukraine.
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