A majority of German people oppose the country’s nuclear phase-out as the last three nuclear power plants are taken off the grid, according to a survey conducted by research company infratest dimap and published by public broadcaster ARD.
Only a third of respondents thought this step was right. With 50 per cent, support was highest among Germans aged between 18 and 34 years, the survey showed.
The mood was different 12 years ago, when the already scheduled nuclear phase-out was brought forward by former Chancellor Angela Merkel to the end of 2022.
In June 2011, around three months after the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan, 54 percent of Germans supported Merkel’s response, the ARD survey recalled.
Due to the energy crisis, however, the operation of the Emsland, Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim 2 nuclear plants had been extended until April 2023.
Despite the imminent final phase-out, the “very high reliability” of the country’s power supply remains secured, the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and the Ministry for the Environment said in a joint statement last week.
“This will end the use of nuclear power in Germany and significantly increase nuclear safety in this country,” the ministries said.
“With the clear target of climate neutrality by 2045, the entire energy system will be converted to the use of renewable energies.”
However, there is still no final repository for nuclear waste. Further, official expert reports showed that the expansion of renewable energies in Europe’s largest economy is progressing too slowly.
Electricity production from nuclear sources had already dropped by around half in 2022 compared to the previous year, accounting only for 6.4 per cent of total electricity, according to official figures. However, coal remained the most important energy source for power generation last year.
According to the ARD survey, 66 percent of Germans are very concerned that the shift toward more climate-friendly energy would be followed by a further increase in energy prices.