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German parliament approves to exit nuke energy by 2022

07-01-2011 08:41 BJT

BERLIN, June 30 (Xinhua) -- German Bundestag, lower house of the parliament, on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a national plan to exit from nuclear power by 2022, pushing Europe's largest economy to the road of renewable energy.

The bill was passed by 513 in favour, 79 against and 9 abstentions, making Germany the first major industrial country to completely abandon nuclear power after Japn's Fukushima disaster in March.

German government published its nuclear exit plan on May 30, which requires the 8 suspended nuclear reactors to completely shut down and the rest 9 nuclear plants to be closed by 2022.

"This is more than consensus for a nuclear exit, this is consensus for a switch to renewable energy," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Bundestag before the vote.

"We want a sustainable growth as an industrial country. But we also want to master the growth and guarantee our future generation's life quality," she said, pointing out renewable energy is the key to solve the problem.

However, as the power generated by nuclear plants accounted for about 23 percent of Germany's total energy, the gap left by phasing out nuclear energy was still a worrying issue for its European neighbours.

The closure of 8 nuclear plants in March after the nuclear crisis in Japan has already reduced the total European power supply by 2 to 3 percent, said Guenther Oettinger, European Energy Commissioner in a meeting in Berlin near the Bundestag, when it was debating the nuclear exit plan.

He called for Germany to coordinate its nuclear exit plan with other European Union member states to ensure stable power supplies and stop costs from increasing.

The Bundestag also approved measures to fill the power gap left by the plan, including building new coal and gas power plants and expanding wind energy.

Parliament's upper house, which represents Germany's 16 states, is expected to endorse the plans next week, but much of the package doesn't formally require its approval.

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Editor:Li Wanran |Source: Xinhua

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