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Nuclear policy

February 8, 2010

Germany’s environment minister Norbert Roettgen has spoken out in favor of a phasing out of nuclear energy as soon as possible – much to the annoyance of the Free Democrats.

Anti-nuclear demonstrators in Berlin in 2009
Nuclear energy is unpopular among Germans, leading to frequent demonstrationsImage: AP

Norbert Roettgen has stirred up a heated debate in Germany's governing coalition by saying that no efforts should be wasted to replace nuclear technology as fast as possible.

Roettgen argues that it has very little support among Germans, even 40 years after the first nuclear power station started operating.

The environment minister raised some eyebrows in his own party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), as well as his coalition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), who accused him of muddying the waters with regards to the government's energy policy.


The Free Democrats argue that Roettgen's remarks are confusing, because the government's official policy clearly acknowledges nuclear energy as a 'bridging technology' that will only be abandoned when it can safely be replaced by renewable energy sources.

But chancellor Angela Merkel has backed fellow Christian Democrat Roettgen, insisting that his comments do not contradict the coalition's stance.

A government spokesman stressed on Monday that Roettgen's comments "are based on the coalition agreement“.

Details on the government's energy policy are expected to be announced in the autumn.

Editor: Rob Turner