German public now want more nuclear power, not less
August 15, 2022 - Germany’s plan to phase out all nuclear power by the end of 2022, instigated after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, is coming under pressure in the wake of reduced gas supplies from Russia.
Following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in March 2011, the German government of then Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to phase out all nuclear power by the end of 2022.
At the time, around a quarter of Germany’s electricity was supplied by 17 nuclear power plants.
Almost immediately, Germany shut down eight nuclear power stations, with further closers over the ensuing years. As of summer 2022, Germany has just three working nuclear power plants left, suppling 6% of the country’s electricity – all due for closure by the end of the year.
But since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, leading to a sharp drop in supply to Germany of Russian natural gas and an ensuing energy crisis, public opinion has swung sharply in favour of nuclear power.
In a recent poll for Der Spiegel, 78% of respondents were in favour of keeping the last three plants operational until the summer of 2023. 67% were in favour of keeping them running for another five years, and 41% said new nuclear power plants should be built.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz now says an extension to the lifespan of their nuclear plants could “make sense”.
- Germany sees tidal shift in sentiment toward atomic energy (Der Spiegel)
- Germany’s nuclear crunch challenges green future (bne IntelliNews)
- Wide public support for keeping German reactors online (WNN)
- Polls show German public support for operating nuclear reactors for longer than planned (Engineering News)