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06 Jan 2020, 14:12
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany takes next nuclear plant offline according to schedule

Clean Energy Wire

One of Germany's last remaining nuclear power plants, Philippsburg 2, has been successfully taken off the grid on New Year's Eve 2019, operator EnBW said in a press release. "Block 2 of nuclear power plant Philippsburg finally went offline today at 6:55 pm," EnBW wrote on 31 December, adding that the shutdown went ahead "as planned and without any anomalies”. Dismantling of the plant that started operation in 1984 would start in early 2020, the company added. Jörg Michels, head of EnBW's power plant unit, said the plant's deconstruction would offer employees at the site "an interesting job perspective beyond power production”. According to EnBW, Philippsburg 2 produced roughly ten billion kilowatt hours of power per year and provided about one sixth of the entire power consumption of southern federal state Baden-Wurttemberg. Environmental organisation BUND welcomed the plant's decommissioning. "Every nuclear plant going offline is a success for decades of struggle against dangerous nuclear energy," said BUND head Olaf Bandt, urging the government to also end the production of nuclear fuel rods in Germany. Bandt cautioned nuclear power should not be resurrected as a means to combat global warming, saying that questions regarding operational safety and nuclear waste storage remained as unanswered as ever.

Philippsburg's shutdown was decided in 2011 and reduces the number of remaining nuclear plants in the country to six, with the last plants going offline in 2022. According to research institute Fraunhofer ISE, nuclear power provided about 14 percent of Germany's net electricity last year, less than half as much as in the year 2000.

Image shows map of German nuclear power stations and planned shut down date. Graph: CLEW 2020.
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