In the wake of the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, Germany has announced plans to phase out all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. With this move, Germany will become the largest industrial power to give up nuclear energy, the BBC reports. The country’s seven oldest reactors were taken offline after the crisis in Japan and will not be used again; an eighth is offline because of problems and will also be closed permanently. Of the rest, six will be shut down by 2021 and the three newest by 2022.
The decision is a reversal for Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose administration had scrapped plans by the previous government to shut down all the nuclear power stations by 2021. Merkel actually wanted to extend the life of Germany’s reactors by about 12 years, an unpopular decision even prior to the Fukushima crisis. A rep for Greenpeace says Germany has invested in renewable energy: "Germany is going to be ahead of the game on that and it is going to make a lot of money, so the message to Germany's industrial competitors is that you can base your energy policy not on nuclear, not on coal, but on renewables." (Read more nuclear reactor stories.)