Germany pulls the plug on half its nuclear power plants

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Germany will turn off three of its remaining six nuclear power stations on Friday as part of its switch to renewable energy.

Berlin decided to speed up its phasing out of nuclear power following Japan’s Fukushima reactor meltdown in 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami destroyed the coastal plant in the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl 25 years earlier.

The reactors of Brokdorf, Grohnde and Gundremmingen C, run by E.ON and RWE, will be shut down on Friday after three and half decades in operation.

The last three nuclear power plants, Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim II, will be turned off by the end of 2022.

The phase-out of an energy deemed clean and cheap by some is an irreversible step for Europe’s biggest economy, facing ambitious climate targets and rising power prices.

“For the energy industry in Germany, the nuclear phase-out is final,” said Kerstin Andreae, the head of energy industry association BDEW.

The six nuclear power plants contributed about 12pc of electricity production in Germany this year, the association said. The share of renewable energy was almost 41pc, with coal generating just under 28pc and gas about 15pc.

Germany aims to make renewables meet 80pc of power demand by 2030 through expanding wind and solar power infrastructure.

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