Japan’s growing nuclear crisis has led Germany to shut down seven of its nuclear power plants for at least three months, the New York Times reports. Plants that began operating before the close of 1980 will temporarily close while officials complete a safety review for all 17 of the country’s plants, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced. Though Germany is the first European country to actually halt operations, Switzerland also announced that it will suspend plans for building and replacing nuclear plants.
Switzerland will also not permit any new plants until safety conditions are reassessed; three new sites had recently been approved. The European Union met today to discuss nuclear safety, and Austria’s environmental minister called for a stress test across the EU “to see if our nuclear power stations are earthquake-proof.” Meanwhile, in Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has no plans to change his ambitious nuclear program, but said his government will “draw conclusions from what’s going on in Japan.” (Read more Japan nuclear plant stories.)