Atomkraft? Nein danke! 50.000 people protest against nuclear energy in Germany
This past weekend around 50 000 people from around Germany protested in Berlin against nuclear energy. The demonstrators protested against threats from the current right wing government to extend a deadline for the countryâ€™s 17 nuclear reactors.
Back in 2001 the former Social Democratic chancellor, backed up by the Greens, pushed through a new legislation in 2001 that would phase out nuclear energy from Germany within two decades. But the Social Democratic and Green government lost the election in 2005 to a right-wing coalition consisting of the current Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats and the liberal Free Democrats.
Angela Merkel, who successfully blocked a strong climate deal for the European Union last year, now wants to scrap the nuclear phase-out legislation that the SPD pushed through in 2001. This is similar to what is happening in Sweden after a coalition of right-wing parties won the recent election there. According to Merkel, Germany â€œcannot phase out nuclear energy as quickly as some imagine.â€
The Social Democratic chancellor candidate, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is accusing Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats and the liberal Free Democrats "of leading the country into an energy policy dead-end and endangering domestic security."
On the same day as the anti-nuclear protest in Germany were taking place Greenpeace released a survey which found that 59% of Germans are against Merkel's proposal to extend the deadline for the countryâ€™s already aging nuclear reactors.
Nils Diedrich, a political scientist at Berlin's Free University, says that if Merkel and her right wing coalition manage to push through this pro-nuclear legislation â€œwe'll see a real battleâ€. He warns that â€œthen there will be massive demonstrations."
Although Germany is one of the leading countries in renewable wind energy it still has a dirty and toxic energy portfolio. 42% of the countryâ€™s energy comes from coal and 23% from nuclear energy. Only about 15% of the energy comes from clean renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
Images from the Gruene.de