Germans need to ‘rethink’ on nuclear phase-out

Berlin, February 5:

Russia’s gas shut-off to Ukraine and gas and power cut-off to Georgia after mysterious bombings earlier this month are fuelling calls for Germany to rethink the planned closure of all its nuclear power stations.

Germany currently generates over 30 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power, with 50 per cent coming from coal, 10 per cent from renewable sources such as wind and the rest from gas and oil. Ex-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats SPD-Greens government in 2000 ordered closure of all 18 German nuclear plants by 2020. The first nuclear station was shut down last May. But Russia’s cut-offs — which Georgian foreign minister Gela Bezhuashvili slammed as ‘blackmail’ and ‘extortion’ during a visit to Berlin this week — have helped nuclear power re-emerge as a new wild card in Germany.

Economics Minister Michael Glos has warned that such cut-offs are a stark warning that Germany needs to ponder other energy supplies.