Operators began shutting down the Philippsburg nuclear power plant in southern Germany on Tuesday, as the country puts into motion its plan to begin decommissioning all 17 of its atomic energy facilities by the end of 2022.
After 35 years on the grid, Block 2 of the Philippsburg station was fully turned off. Neckarwestheim 2, the other remaining nuclear plant in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, is not set to be turned off until the end of the nuclear phase-out plan.
Philippsburg had previously supplied 6% of Baden-Württemberg’s energy. However, nuclear power has long been unpopular in the region, which has a Green party leader in Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann.
The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan led to widespread anti-atomic power protests across Germany. Two months after the accident, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that all plants would be closed over the next decade, making Germany the second country after Italy to shut down all of its atomic energy stations.
The German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) welcomed the news. A BUND spokesman said the group hoped to see the end of nuclear power being “conjured up again and again as a supposed healing charm and climate savior.”
However, Wolfram König, who heads the German government’s office for the nuclear phase-out, warned that the country still faced the great “challenge” of trying to phase out both coal and atomic energy at the same time.
es/rc (dpa, AFP)