UK | German upper house unanimously backs nuclear exit

Posted on July 8, 2011


UK | REUTERS | 8 July 2011

BERLIN, July 8 (Reuters) – Germany’s upper house of parliament on Friday unanimously approved an exit from nuclear energy by 2022, clearing the final hurdle on a policy U-turn by Chancellor Angela Merkel driven by Japan’s Fukushima disaster.

Lawmakers in the lower house overwhelmingly approved the exit last week, with opposition parliamentarians from the centre-left Social Democrats and Green party joining Merkel’s centre-right coalition in supporting the energy reform bill.

But German industry and the country’s neighbours fear the chancellor’s abrupt change of course on nuclear energy could raise energy costs and imperil the power supply in Europe’s biggest economy.

Late last year Merkel called nuclear plants safe and advocated keeping them open longer.

To substitute the loss of nuclear energy, Germany will have to import more power, burn more coal and raise production of energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind.

German industry, however, worries energy costs will rise as a result of the shut down and eat into earnings.

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