Germany: Protests against nuclear power extension highlight public opposition
Germany’s cabinet has voted to extend nuclear power use in the country by an average of 12 years.
According to legislation passed in 2002 by the Social Democratic-Green Party coalition, all nuclear power stations in Germany were to be decommissioned by 2022.
Not any more.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Party, which rules as part of a center right coalition, sees the extension as a way to generate tax income, while meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and transitioning to renewable energy sources.
But nuclear energy is not popular in Germany and the decision to extend the use of nuclear power plants is highly controversial. It has been met by protests and added to the Green Party’s power base.
Some polls put the Greens on a par in popularity with the Social Democrats at around 20% — that’s unprecedented in German history. Older, experienced activists from the 1970s and ’80s have joined younger protesters and grassroots networks. There’s a tough and united opposition to nuclear power and Chancellor Merkel may pay a high political price.
–Dieter Rucht, professor of sociology, Social Science Research Centre, Berlin (via Time Magazine)
On Tuesday several hundred protesters demonstrated outside of Chancellor Merkel’s office, including activists from Greenpeace. According to the Telegraph, Greenpeace also projected anti nuclear power slogans onto 12 atomic energy reactors in the country.
For more on the story, see the following piece in Time Magazine: