German Cabinet Approves Nuclear Phase-out Plan

Posted June 6th, 2011 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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Germany's Cabinet has approved a plan to phase out the country's nuclear plants by 2022, becoming the first major industrial power to give up atomic power and rely entirely on other sources of energy.

The Cabinet on Monday passed legislation detailed last week by Chancellor Angela Merkel that foresees shutting down the country's 17 atomic reactors by the end of 2022 and boosting investment in renewable energies.

The bill was drawn up after the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan following an earthquake and tsunami that hit the country in March.

The decision marks a reversal in Mrs. Merkel's policies, from wanting to extend the life of Germany's nuclear plants to phasing out nuclear power.

Germany relies on nuclear power for 22 percent of its energy needs.

The plan must still be approved by parliament.

Environmentalists, including the Green Party, wanted the nuclear power industry shut down sooner, but pro-business groups warned that could cause power shortages that would cripple the country's industrial sector.

In a separate development, Mrs. Merkel is en route to the United States Monday for a three-day visit that will include talks with President Barack Obama on the Middle East and the global economy. During her three-day visit, Mr. Obama will present the German leader with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.