Germany’s nuclear phase-out to continue

Berlin: Germany’s nuclear phase-out will continue with the permanent closure of the country’s last three nuclear reactors at the end of the year, the government has said.

The operating licenses for the three nuclear power plants expire at the end of 2021, and will not be renewed. The plants will therefore go off-grid by the end of 2022 at the latest, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The nuclear phase-out in Germany will then be complete,” the German government said.

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel launched safety inspections of all nuclear power plants. This led to an acceleration of Germany’s phase-out of nuclear energy.

According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), almost 57 per cent of electricity generated in Germany and fed into the grid in the third quarter (Q3) of 2021 still came from conventional energy sources such as coal, natural gas or nuclear energy.

The share of nuclear energy in Germany increased from 12.9 per cent last year to 14.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2021, Destatis’ figures show.

After the nuclear power plants have been shut down, the German government said that “dismantling should begin as soon as possible,” since a nuclear facility could continue to “pose a risk to people and the environment even after it has ceased operation.”

However, discussions on the final repository for high-level radioactive waste are not yet finished. The government plans to complete this process by 2031, and from 2050 onwards, the nuclear waste would be stored at the final site.

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