Gallery: Germany and Italy Cancel Nuclear Power Plans in Wake of Japan’...


The German government announced this week that it is accelerating plans to close its nuclear power plants, and Italy is following suit with a one year moratorium. The announcement comes in the wake of the severe nuclear situation in Japan that followed the earthquake and resulting tsunami, and it is a clear indication of how quickly the political winds have shifted on the issue. Italy had planned on pushing nuclear power by referendum, and Germany has 17 reactors which it now plans to replace completely with renewable energy. German Chancellor’s Angela Merkel minced no words when she declared the situation in Japan a “catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions.”

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  1. Dolores839 June 1, 2011 at 2:39 am

    We humans never learned to clean up after ourselves. Our waste is everywhere and in everything. The waste from nuclear power is just waiting to add to the general calamity we are ever willing to continue unchecked. Nuclear energy will never be safe if humans are in charge.

  2. SpecialFx March 28, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Andrew: the first thing said by Italian government after the Fukishima incident was “we’ll go ahead with our nuclear program”. Moratorium is inevitable and the real purpose was explained by Dieguito. Government still want a nuclear program.

  3. EricR March 27, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    @Andrew Michler, the issue of handling the waste is always going to be a purely political argument. France has been efficiently and safely managing their waste through reprocessing for some time now and there is even some limited reprocessing in the US (non-commercial). The politicos do not want to acknowledge the viability and common sense behind this because it will benefit a pro-nuclear stance which is unfavorable in some circles. The knee-jerk reaction that Germany and Italy have had will only make them more dependent on outside energy sources.

    It should also be stated that new reactor designs and technology include passive cooling and safety systems and consume fuel more efficiently which means that spent fuel coming out will be much less of a liability. The argument should not be that we should get rid of nuclear power, but that we need to be retiring our old faithful power plants and replacing them with new more safe and reliable plants of this current generation. I doubt that will ever be the cry of die hard solar/wind evangelists however.

  4. Marta March 27, 2011 at 9:32 am

    In Italy non yet! We will have a referendum on june.

  5. Dieguito March 27, 2011 at 4:29 am

    It’s necessary to clarify that Italian Government postponed Nuclear Plans, (maybe)to avoid a negative result of june’s Referendum. Referendum is proposed by politic oppositions against laws about nuclear plans and about Premier’s rescues by his processes.

    Now, by the emotive wave of Japan nuclear problems, it’s highly presumable that Referendum’ll get the quorum to be validated (50%+1 of electors which vote).

    And, if it gets the quorum, for sure the Oppositions votes will win, deleting Italian Nuclear plans and “save-premier” laws at the same time.

    Postponing nuclear plans for one year, means cooling public opinion’s emotion and fear for japanese disaster, and not allowing referendum to get quorum.

    Italy isn’t erasing anything about nuclear power. Government is simply (or probably) saving Premier by his processes…

  6. andrew michler March 25, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    @Caeman, nobody has addressed what to do with the spent fuel rods, something that is too often over looked or glossed over in the conversation. Germany clearly does not want to be stuck with the problem.

  7. caeman March 25, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I hope they discontinue airplanes and cars, next, because that is about as logical as discontinuing nuclear. Oh no, a 40-yr plant failed, with it’s 40-yr old technology! It is as if no one has actually read about the the new nuclear tech, smaller-is-better-and-safer stuff.

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