Country profile: Germany

Summary figures for 2012

The following information is from the NEA publication Nuclear Energy Data, the annual compilation of official statistics and country reports on nuclear energy in OECD member countries.

Country
Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid
Nuclear electricity generation
(net TWh) 2012
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
Germany
9
95.0
 
16.2
 
OECD Europe
133
833.1
23.7
 
Total
325
1 883.2
18.6
 

Country report

Germany's principal decision to phase out nuclear power for the commercial production of electricity was laid down by law in April 2002. The legislation set out rules for the remaining amount of power that each nuclear power plant could produce. This amount corresponded to the total amount of power that would be produced during an average operational lifespan of 32 years. Power plants were to be switched off once they had generated the amount of power stipulated by law.

In autumn 2010, the federal government adopted a new Energy Strategy that set the course for Germany's transition to the age of renewable energy. Nuclear power was thought of as having a bridging function until renewables were reliable and economical and the necessary infrastructure was in place.

The 11th Act amending the Atomic Energy Act, which took effect in December 2010 and is based on the new Energy Strategy, raised the limit of the remaining amount of electricity that nuclear power plants would be permitted to produce thereby extending the lifespans of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants by an average of 12 years.

In the aftermath of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011, the role of nuclear power was reconsidered and its risks were reassessed. As a consequence, the federal government decided on 15 March 2011 to subject all German nuclear power plants to a comprehensive safety review. Eight of the 17 nuclear power plants at that time were taken offline. The Reactor Safety Commission submitted its report in May 2011. In parallel, a newly assembled independent commission, the Ethics Commission for a Safe Energy Supply, issued its opinion on the future of Germany's energy supply. The findings of these commissions served as guidelines for the energy policy decisions that were made in summer 2011.

On 30 June 2011, the German Bundestag decided, with a vast majority, that by the end of 2022, Germany will terminate the generation of power by German nuclear power plants. This 13th Act amending the Atomic Energy Act took effect on 6 August 2011. For the eight nuclear power plants taken offline during the nuclear safety review the authorisation to generate power expired with the 13th Act.

The remaining nine nuclear power plants will be taken offline in a stepwise manner in the following order: the Grafenrheinfeld plant by the end of 2015; Gundremmingen B by the end of 2017; Philippsburg 2 by the end of 2019; and Grohnde, Gundremmingen C and Brokdorf by the end of 2021. The three newest facilities – Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim – are to be taken offline by the end of 2022.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2013

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Last reviewed: 11 December 2013