German Parliament approves nuclear shutdown
Berlin: German lawmakers on Thursday
overwhelmingly approved plans to shut the country's nuclear
plants by 2022, putting Europe's biggest economy on the road
to an ambitious build-up of renewable energy.
The lower house of parliament voted 513-79 for the
shutdown plan drawn up by Chancellor Angela Merkel's
government after Japan's post-earthquake nuclear disaster.
Most of the opposition voted in favour; eight lawmakers
Lawmakers sealed for good the shutdown of eight of the
older reactors, which have been off the grid since March.
Germany's remaining nine reactors will be shut down in stages
by the end of 2022.
By 2020, Germany wants to double the share of energy
stemming from water, wind, sun or biogas to at least 35
percent. Until this year, nuclear energy accounted for a bit
less than a quarter of Germany's power supply.
"Some people abroad ask: will Germany manage this? Can
it be done, It is the first time that a major industrial
country has declared itself ready to carry through this
technological and economic revolution," Environment Minister
Norbert Roettgen told lawmakers.
"The message from today is this: the Germans are
getting to work," he said. "This will be good for our country,
because we all stand together. So let's get to work."
The government hasn't put a specific price tag on the
plan to shift to renewable sources.
"Of course it will cost something, but it won't
overburden anyone," Roettgen said.
Today's vote completed a spectacular about-face on
nuclear energy by Merkel's centre-right coalition. Only last
year, it had amended a previous centre-left government's plan
to abandon nuclear power by the early 2020s and extended the
life span of Germany's 17 reactors by an average 12 years.