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Tipsheet

'Total Madness': Germany Shuts Country's Remaining Nuclear Power Plants

AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

Amid an ongoing energy crisis, Germany closed its final three nuclear power plants in a move critics say is “total madness.”

The Saturday closure of Emsland, Neckarwestheim II, and Isar II, planned over a decade ago as part of the country’s transition to more renewable energy, has been sharply criticized. 

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As energy prices spiked last year due to the war in Ukraine, some members of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government got cold feet about closing the nuclear plants as planned on 31 December 2022.

In a compromise, Mr Scholz agreed to a one-time extension of the deadline, but insisted that the final countdown would happen on 15 April.

Bavaria's conservative governor, Markus Soeder, who backed the original deadline set in 2011 when Angela Merkel was Germany's chancellor, this week called the shutdown "an absolute mistaken decision".

He said: "While many countries in the world are even expanding nuclear power, Germany is doing the opposite.

"We need every possible form of energy. Otherwise, we risk higher electricity prices and businesses moving away."

Advocates of nuclear power worldwide have criticised the German shutdown, aware that the action by Europe's biggest economy could deal a blow to a technology they tout as a clean and reliable alternative to fossil fuels.

The German government has acknowledged that, in the short term, the country will have to rely more heavily on polluting coal and natural gas to meet its energy needs, even as it takes steps to massively ramp up electricity production from solar and wind. (Sky News)

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Tesla founder Elon Musk called the decision "total madness" and a major "national security risk," but psychologist Jordan Peterson said "crazy is the point." 

Germany has committed to being carbon neutral by 2045. 

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