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I said on Monday that the anti-nuclear demonstrations in Stuttgart over the weekend would put pressure on the German government and others around the world to clamp down on nuclear. Angela Merkel responded initially by ordering a safety review into all German nuclear plants. She has now taken much more stringent action.
This from Reuters:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that all seven of the country’s nuclear power plants which began operation before 1980 would be provisionally shut down.
She also told a news conference that all German reactors would undergo checks and all safety questions about the plants would be answered by June 15.
The 60,000 people on the streets of Stuttgart this weekend protesting about Germany’s plans to extend the lives of ten nuclear power plants should leave the energy world in no doubt that events in Japan will have an impact on the nuclear industry everywhere.
Soon after the first explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant on Saturday, politicians have been hurriedly backtracking on their commitments to the nuclear industry.
In the US, Senator Joe Lieberman told CBS’ Face the Nation:
I don’t want to stop the building of nuclear power plants. But I think we’ve got to kind of quietly put, quickly put, the brakes on until we can absorb what has happened in Japan as a result of the earthquake and the tsunami and then see what more, if anything, we can demand of the new power plants that are coming online.
When Germany announced its plan to phase out nuclear power stations last month, shares in the big four German power companies rose. The agreement made with the German government would see Eon, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall pay a nuclear-fuel rods tax of €2.3bn until 2016 – but the market had been expecting worse.