Sunday May 29, 201106:19 AM GMT
Germans protest against nuclear power
Sun May 29, 2011 6:16AM
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Tens of thousands of people have been demonstrating in 21 cities in Germany against the government's energy policy, calling for an end to nuclear power.

Around 25,000 anti-nuclear activists protested in the German capital of Berlin on Saturday. Similar rallies were also held in Dresden, Munich, Hamburg, Gottingen and other cities, where the protesters called for a swift exit from nuclear power, a Press TV correspondent reported.

“We want to clear an indefinite decision that as many nuclear reactors as possible will close and that for others at least we get a precise date for the shutdown,” Thorben Becker of Friends of The Earth told Press TV.

Nuclear power accounts for about a quarter of Germany's energy supply.

In October 2010, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government extended the life-span of nuclear reactors after a previous coalition had agreed to phase-out nuclear energy by 2022.

In response to the nuclear disaster in Japan triggered by a powerful quake and tsunami in March, Merkel reversed her energy policy, ordering the shutdown of the seven oldest reactors in Germany for three months.

A study by the German environment ministry has suggested that a phase-out by 2017 would be possible without causing blackouts.

While protesters gathered at the headquarters of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), labor representatives of Germany's nuclear power plant operators warned of massive job losses in the sector and the International Energy Agency estimated a significant rise in CO2-emmission because of the three-month moratorium.

Experts say it is crucial that Merkel and her CDU present a plan and a date for the nuclear phase-out as soon as possible, as the protests have sent a clear signal to the government that the majority of Germans oppose nuclear energy.

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