Germany Shutters First N-Plant in Beginning of End of Atomic Industry

Germany began its historic phaseout of all atomic energy by shutting down the first of 19 nuclear power plants today. The Stade plant, in a city of the same name, had been open since 1972, making it the nation’s second-oldest atomic energy facility. Anti-nuclear activists celebrated its closure, but, as Suzanne Ochse of Greenpeace noted, “the real party will start when all the plants are closed.” Shipments of nuclear waste into Germany from La Hague in northwest France and Sellafield in Britain will continue through 2010, and Germany’s nuclear industry as a whole could continue operating as late as 2020. “By then, we will have twice as much nuclear waste as today and no one will know what to do with it,” Ochse said.