Germans split on nuclear phase out

16 June 2008

[Bild am Sonntag, 15 June] Almost half of Germans are against their country's phase out of nuclear energy, according to an opinion poll conducted by the Emnid research institute on behalf of the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. The survey found that 46% of Germans want the country to continue using nuclear energy; another 46% said they support the nuclear phase out policy, and 8% were undecided. The results indicated that support for the continued operation of the country's nuclear power plants is strongest amongst men (52%), supporters of the coalition of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union (65%), and supporters of the Free Democratic Party (57%). The poll questioned more than 500 people. Around one third of German electricity comes from nuclear, but the 17 reactors that produce it are scheduled for closure. A 2001 agreement between industry and the Social Democratic/Green government of the time effectively limited the lifespans of the plants to 32 years. Two reactors have already been shut down early, and although some generation time has been passed from older to newer plants for economic reasons, the agreement would eventually see all reactors shut down by 2022.