Germany Shuts Down Almost 1/2 of its Nuclear Reactors

Deutsche Welle has had the best coverage I have seen anywhere of the nuclear disaster unfolding in Japan. The interview with analysis of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, for example, was extremely useful to understand the various risks in different reactors.

They have now announced that Germany is shutting down its older nuclear reactors until an updated security analysis can be completed.

Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Tuesday that seven of Germany’s 17 nuclear power stations would be shut down, at least until the end of a three-month moratorium on the extension of the lifespans of Germany’s nuclear stations.

The decision was made as a direct result of the nuclear disaster currently unfolding at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.

Merkel is banking on the fact that Japan has brought new risk calculation data to light. Her opposition is not buying it. They accuse her of ignoring the risk before the disaster.

Sigmar Gabriel, head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) was withering on Merkel’s new plan: “She claimed then that all safety concerns in German nuclear power stations had been cleared up, and she claimed we needed nuclear power in Germany. Now we know that none of that was true.”

With 80% of Germans now said to oppose nuclear energy, it could just be a wise political move but it is still good to see infrastructure security receive serious attention.

The effect of Japan’s unfolding nuclear catastrophe on Germans could not be clearer. After the protests in Baden-Württemberg on Saturday, an estimated 110,000 people demonstrated in 450 German towns on Monday against the extension of nuclear power.

Only 110,000 people? That’s the same size as the growing protests against the Regressive Governor in Madison, Wisconsin.

Up to 100,000 people protested at the Wisconsin state Capitol on Saturday against a new law curbing the union rights of public workers that is seen as one of the biggest challenges in decades facing U.S. organized labor.

Wow, perspective. More Americans are protesting in Wisconsin today than during the Vietnam war; about the same as the number protesting today’s nuclear crisis in Germany.

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