The last three German nuclear power plants have been permanently closed. 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. By midnight, the nuclear power plants in the states of Lower Saxony, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg finally closed.
The operators announced late on Saturday evening that the plants had been successfully shut down. The operator of Neckarwestheim 2 in Baden-Württemberg was the last to announce that the outfitting had been completed.
The production of the power stations had already been reduced in recent years. On Saturday, the last shifts screwed it down even further, so that the generation of energy was finished around midnight. Now the demolition of the three power stations is starting, 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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