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Germany set to abandon nuclear power

Fears over Japan’s Fukushima crisis have sparked fresh debate in the EU over the safety of nuclear power production.

File photo of the nuclear power plant in Biblis, Germany.
File photo of the nuclear power plant in Biblis, Germany.
Image: AP Photo/Michael Probst

GERMANY IS PREPARED to abandon its nuclear energy production policies out of concern over the technology’s risks, according to the AP.

After the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and a tsunami damaged Japan’s Fukushim Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, Germany announced it was suspending seven of its 17 nuclear reactors.

The seven plants were all built before 1980.

The German government said it would undertake a safety review of the plants and reconsider its decision to extend the life of its power stations – a reversal of an earlier government’s decision to close them down.

Now, Germany’s plans to replace its nuclear power with renewable energy are being accelerated. Chancellor Merkel said the Japanese “catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions” has irreversibly marked the start of a new era.

EU energy ministers have been meeting to discuss possible Europe-wide stress tests for nuclear plants. Despite being unable to agree on binding criteria for such tests because of the disparity between different power plants, the ministers did agree that stress tests should be carried out on the region’s 143 power plants before the end of the year.

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The Japanese nuclear crisis also sparked the Swiss government’s decision to suspend its plans to build and replace nuclear plants until further safety standard reviews are carried out.

The European reaction to the Fukushima crisis could see countries cutting their nuclear energy production, making it harder for the bloc to meet its emission reducing targets, Bloomberg reported earlier.

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