Germany to shut all its nuclear reactors by 2022
GERMANY is to shut its nuclear reactors by 2022, making it the first major industrial power to become nuclear-free following Japan's Fukushima disaster.
The decision, which could jeopardise the energy supply of Europe's biggest economy and manufacturer, followed mass anti-nuclear protests after an earthquake and tsunami devastated the Japanese nuclear plant two months ago.
Political party The Greens mobilised popular hostility to atomic power and inflicted the worst defeats of Angela Merkel's political career after she had agreed at the end of 2010 to extend the life of the country's nuclear power plants.
Following the backlash to Fukushima, the German Chancellor's ruling Christian Democrats lost control of Baden-Wurttemberg, a regional assembly they had controlled for almost 60 years.
The crushing March defeat in the industrial homeland of Porsche and Daimler, giving The Greens their first regional premier, was followed by Ms Merkel's party being swept out of power in Brandenburg and Bremen.
After attempting to stop the green advance by closing the oldest seven reactors in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima crisis, Ms Merkel has been forced to make the humiliating U-turn of making Germany nuclear free.
Germany gets 23pc of its power from its 17 nuclear reactors, nine of which are currently running at full capacity, but Mrs Merkel claimed that wind and solar energy could meet the shortfall.
"Our energy system has to be fundamentally changed and can be fundamentally changed," she said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)