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Posted at 11:47 AM ET, 05/31/2011

Germany scraps nuclear power; U.S., other countries don’t slow down


A merry-go-round turns inside of the cooling tower of a former nuclear power plant in Kalkar, Germany, near the border with the Netherlands, on May 28. After construction on the plant began in 1977, it was converted to a leisure fun park “Wunderland Kalkar.” (Patrik Stollarz - AFP/Getty Images)
Germany, the “unlikely green radical,” has agreed to gradually shut down all of its nuclear power plants by 2022 and replace atomic power with renewable energy sources.

The move represents an about-face for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, but comes in reaction to the crisis at the Fukushima power plant in Japan after damage from a earthquake and tsunami earlier this year

Germany’s decision also echoed that of Switzerland, which last week decided to phase out nuclear power by 2034, and of Japan, which abandoned its target of generating around 50 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power by 2030 after the crisis.

But other countries merely shrugged at Germany’s decision, and continued on their merry nuclear way.

The French government has reacted to Germany’s decision by reiterating that France’s nuclear energy allows both businesses and individuals to pay significantly less for electricity than their German neighbors.

Prime Minister François Fillon said that France “respects the German decision but does not share it.”

Energy-hungry developing nations such as China, India, Mexico, and Iran also continued to move forward on plans to build more nuclear plants.

The Ottawa Citizen newspaper in Canada published a piece in response to Germany’s decision called “The world needs nuclear power.”

Two journalists in Japan who covered the nuclear crisis at Fukushima tweeted their reaction to Germany’s announcement:

Tru RT @jakeadelstein Can't say I'm anti-nuke. It just shouldn't be run for profit by civilians -- too dangerous for profit to be precedent.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

As expected, Russia did not blink at Germany’s decision, except to be thrilled that Germany would become only more dependent on Russia’s energy company Gazprom for natural gas than ever before.

While some American senators have questioned the use of nuclear power after Japan’s crisis, the U.S., too, has remained committed to building new plants, even announcing this week that it was getting its first digital nuclear power plant. In a recent poll conducted by Harris, 40 percent of the U.S. public is in favor of building new reactors, according to the Financial Times.

YOUR TAKE: Should the U.S. follow Germany's lead and decommission all nuclear power plants?

 

 Should the U.S. follow Germany's lead and decommission all nuclear power plants, or did Germany go too far? Give us your thoughts by using #NuclearOption on Twitter and we'll post some responses right here.

 

Here are some of your #NuclearOption responses:

@washingtonpost #NuclearOption Yes - Eliminate them all. Can't "save" nuclear's reputation, but maybe it can be stored for millions of yrs.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

#nuclearoption shouldn't be an option, too many variables, solar, wind, water, and gravitational energy should be our focusless than a minute ago via TouchTwit Favorite Retweet Reply

#NuclearOption is the most unsafe and most devastating thing man has made.You tell me what happens if a plane crashes or meteor hits oneless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

It's never a yes/no question. I hate it when the media simplify things. "@washingtonpost: #NuclearOption http://t.co/y1LccXj" #badjournalismless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

#NuclearOption the temporary benefit of cheap baseload power does not meet 'anxiety' costs, meltdowns, abandoned cities or countrysides.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Should the U.S. follow Germany's lead and decommission all nuclear power plants? Tell us, use #NuclearOption - Yes, #allcoal #allthetimeless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

@washingtonpost Most of IL's nuclear power is sourced from 6 nuclear plans -- no dangerous incidents to date. #NuclearOption [2/2]less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

By  |  11:47 AM ET, 05/31/2011

 
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