German nuclear reactors shut for review

2011-03-15 15:00

Berlin - German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Tuesday the provisional shut-down for three months of seven ageing nuclear reactors pending a safety review in light of events in Japan.

"We are launching a safety review of all nuclear reactors ... with all reactors in operation since the end of 1980 set to be idled for the period of the (three-month) moratorium," Merkel said.

This covers seven of Germany's 17 nuclear reactors.

"After this moratorium, which will run until June 15 ... we will know how to proceed," she said following crisis talks in Berlin with premiers of German states where there are nuclear plants.

"We will discuss the possible consequences ... when the moratorium is over, and not today."

On Monday Merkel suspended for three months a postponement of more than a decade until the mid-2030s the date when the last of Germany's nuclear reactors are switched off, pending a safety review.

Under Merkel's predecessor Gerhard Schroeder, Germany decided a decade ago to go nuclear-free by 2020, but after being re-elected to a second term in late 2009 Merkel postponed the switch-off late last year.

But nuclear power is highly unpopular in environmentally conscious Germany, with shipments of radioactive waste regularly attracting angry protests, and the extension is opposed by a majority of voters, surveys have shown.

On Monday large numbers of people worried about nuclear safety - more than 100 000, organisers said - took to the streets nationwide. On Saturday tens of thousands formed a human chain between a nuclear plant and Stuttgart.

  • Morgan - 2011-03-15 16:09

    Just saying. The grammar in this article is terrible! That for 1. For the other, what is the world meant to do.. burn fossil fuels until there are none left and there is a layer of waste product across our atmosphere?

  • Madelane - 2011-03-15 16:21

    I am amazed at the ostrich head in the sand outlook of the pro nuclear people. Nuclear power is NOT clean.....have a look at an article "Nuclear Power Isn't Clean; It's Dangerous" by By Dr. Helen Caldicott, 9/3/2001 and obtain a more balanced view of the very real dangers of nuclear power and the arrogance of the experts who maintain that they are safe. The same experts who built the plants in Japan.

      Warren - 2011-03-15 19:57

      Yea - but what else do we have?? Coal is disappearing, so is oil. We need power, no one can hide from that fact. Where are we going to get power from in 10 years if not from nuclear? Solar and wind are not viable - that has bee proven (except for small isolated installations) but certainly not cities and industry. Nuclear is not clean but it does work...

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