Germany shuts down last three nuclear power stations
17 April 2023
Nuclear power production in Germany ended on April 15 after the country shut down its final three reactors: Isar II in Bavaria, Emsland in Lower Saxony, and Neckarwestheim II in Baden-Württemberg. The German government decided to phase out nuclear power following Japan’s 2011 Fukushima meltdown. A final shut down in 2022 was delayed after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent energy crisis.
The decision to end nuclear power generation has been a divisive one. Anti-nuclear campaigners have welcomed the decision after pushing the German government for years to phase it out following the Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima disasters. However, critics have raised concerns about fuel scarcity and suggested fossil fuels should have been phased out first.
The closure of the remaining nuclear plants had been set for 2022, however Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced a delay in the decision as Germany looked for ways to become less dependent on Russian energy sources. A year later, the German government has said it is now confident that its gas supplies and plans to expand renewable power will fill the gap left by nuclear.
Germany has been producing nuclear power for more than 60 years. The last three plants only produced around 5% of electricity production in the early part of 2023, however critics have said Germany will need to return to nuclear if it wishes to meet its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2045.
The RWE operated Emsland nuclear power plant in Lingen in Lower Saxon was one of the last three nuclear plants. Markus Krebber, CEO of RWE AG: “The phasing out of nuclear energy in Germany is a political decision. Before arriving at this point today, nuclear energy was the subject of heated and passionate debates for decades. That chapter is now closed. Now it is important to put all our energy into forging ahead with the construction of hydrogen-ready gas-fired power plants as quickly as possible, in addition to the expansion of renewables, so that security of supply remains guaranteed when Germany ideally also phases out coal in 2030.”