Nuclear exit in doubt

Published on 15 March 2011 at 11:45

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The first political fallout in Germany from the nuclear disaster in Japan is “Merkel’s chain reaction,” leads Tageszeitung. On March 14 the Chancellor announced a three month suspension of the plan to extend the operating life of nuclear power plants in Germany, a measure decided last autumn that had been badly received by public opinion. She also announced that seven plants built before 1980 would be closed. During these three months Germany’s 17 plants will undergo safety reviews. But the results are already in, to some extent, writes the daily: many of the old plants are not built to withstand plane crashes and their safety levels cannot be improved. The Neckarwestheim plant in the south of the country, considered obsolete, will also be unplugged from the grid. In an editorial headlined “Government seeks to extend its shelf-life” the Berlin newspaper notes that Merkel’s announcement coincides with three state elections in Germany’s important Länder, or federal states, coming up before the end of March. “So, is this just rhetoric? No. The coalition can no longer stop the debate on the nuclear phase-out. The public reaction to the disaster in Japan has been far too nervous."

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