The German government on Monday announced plans to shut all of the nation’s nuclear power plants within the next 11 years, a sharp reversal for Chancellor Angela Merkel after the Japanese disaster at Fukushima caused an electoral backlash by voters opposed to reliance on nuclear energy.
“It’s definite — the latest end for the last three nuclear plants is 2022,” said Norbert Röttgen, the environment minister.
The announcement, which still faces legislative approval, was applauded by environmentalists and expected to be popular among voters. But it was greeted skeptically around Europe and within German industry. Some predicted it could harm economic growth, force Germany to import nuclear power from France, or even inflate the cost of energy across the continent.
“The German decision has direct implications for Europe’s energy sector,” said Georg Zachmann, an energy expert at Bruegel, a research institute in Brussels.