Already one of the greener countries on the planet, Germany has announced plans to shut down all 17 of its nuclear plants by the year 2022. It's a major decision considering just nine months ago, Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel was touting nuclear plants as a safe "bridge" to renewable energy. So, what's changed? Well, polls suggest most Germans dislike nuclear energy. And in recent elections, Merkel's party has lost support to the anti-nuclear Green party.
Now, some of you might be asking, "Why shut them down? Aside from that pesky radioactive waste, nuclear plants are pretty clean and overall, have a good safety record." Well, after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, everyone saw how vulnerable nuclear plants are to disasters. When they get damaged and start melting down... you're pretty much screwed. So, that played a part in Germany's thinking too.
There are questions though: will this push up power prices? Will Germany have to rely more on coal and gas? And if it does, what happens to Germany's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Perhaps, if there's one country that's up to the challenge, it's Deutschland.