Germany has shut its last three commercial atomic reactors

Germany has shut its last three commercial atomic reactors.  

Thus Satrday, April 15, 2023, marks a day that will live in joy and promise.

The world’s fourth-largest economy has gone post-nuclear.

While the conjoined atomic power and weapons industry wastes uncounted millions pushing yet another doomed-to-fail “nuclear renaissance,” Europe’s biggest economy has steered itself toward a sustainable green-powered future. 

For more than a half-century, a powerful Solartopian movement has fought reactor construction in Germany.  

A key early uprising came in the rural community of Wyhl, where thousands of No Nukers physically occupied the site of a proposed radioactive waste dump.  Films of the action circulated worldwide, helping to inspire mass non-violent occupations at Seabrook, New Hampshire, Diablo Canyon in California, and dozens of other reactor sites around the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Germany’s Green movement achieved significant parliamentary clout.  In early 2011, it set a massive national demonstration to shut the nation’s 19 reactors.

But before that happened, four atomic reactors exploded at Fukushima, Japan, spewing more cesium and other radioactive isotopes into the oceans and atmosphere than the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Germany’s pro-nuclear Prime Minister Angela Merkel reconsidered her country’s energy future.  Trained as a chemist, she moved top-level planners from national and local government, industry, finance, labor and the environmental movement to map out a green-powered future.

With massive wind power development in the North Sea and elsewhere, and with the unprecedented spread of distributed local-based rooftop solar, Germany began phasing out its nukes while transitioning to renewables.

This energiewende program has proved massively popular and profitable.  Entire communities have shifted to distributed green supplies mostly owned by individual home owners and local government agencies.

The final three shut-downs were briefly delayed by gas supply disruptions amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  But the final closures have happened.  Germany is now officially post-nuclear.

Concurrent reactor projects in Finland, France and England have proven economically catastrophic.  Long the industry’s poster child, more than half France’s nukes have shut for structural and operational reasons, creating a deep energy crisis.

Two new US reactors at Vogtle, Georgia, have come in six years late.  Their price—-$34-plus billion, more than $20 billion over their original projections—-could have funded the Peach State’s own energiewende.

The US’s 94 big reactors now average some 40 years of age.  

Unlike Angela Merkel, California’s formerly-green Gov. Gavin Newsom wants life-extension for two decrepit Diablo nukes surrounded by major earthquake faults, threatening millions of lives and forever ecological and economic ruin.  

Newsom is also gutting the state’s solar industry, involving some 70,000 jobs (versus 1500 at Diablo).  His turn to the nuclear dark side irradiates Newsom's likely 2024 presidential run.

To continue producing radioactive material for atomic weapons, the nuclear industry now promotes unproven Small Nuclear Reactors whose projected price tags already mean they can’t compete with renewables  

Realistic SMR lead-times put deployments deep into the 2030s.  Meanwhile plunging renewable costs have priced reactor technology far out of the market.  

Thus humankind as a whole can celebrate Germany’s new post-nuke reality as a landmark guide to a Solartopian future. 


Harvey Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA: OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH (  Most Mondays at 5pm ET he co-convenes the Green Grassroots Election Protection zoom (