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Doing Without Nuclear Power - What Chance for Germany?

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Most Germans want to shut down the country's nuclear power plants as quickly as possible. The disaster at the Fukushima power plant in Japan sharply raised concern about the safety of nuclear power. In response, the German government has charted a new course that will promote the rapid development of renewable energy sources.

The switch will cost billions of euros. Who should carry those costs - the taxpayer or the power companies who built the plants?

In addition to financing issues, there are serious logistical problems. How will the energy be transmitted from where it's generated - for example, at wind-farms in northern Germany - to where consumers need it? This will require the construction of several hundred kilometers of new power transmission lines that no one wants to have in their backyard.

Over the short-term, Germany will have to make up for the shortfall of nuclear energy by importing electricity from countries such as France or the Czech Republic. Critics argue in that case Germany would be still be providing a market for nuclear energy produced next door.

What's your opinion? Will it be possible for Germany to stop using nuclear energy altogether?

Write to us at Quadriga@dw-world.de

Our guests:

Friedrich Thelen - After earning his doctorate in law, in 1975 he took on the post of director at the German Development Service. Friedrich Thelen then worked as a journalist for the leading weekly newspaper "Die Zeit". In 1978 he switched to the business weekly "Wirtschaftswoche", where he began his career as the magazine's Bonn correspondent and bureau chief. Later he became the bureau chief of Wirtschaftswoche's Berlin office.

Quentin Peel - he is international affairs editor of the Financial Times. He is also an associate editor, responsible for leader and feature writing. He is working at the FT since 1975. Between 1976 and 1994 he served successively as southern Africa correspondent, Africa editor, European Community correspondent and Brussels bureau chief, Moscow correspondent, and chief correspondent in Germany. On his return to London he became foreign editor. He took up his present position in September 1998. He was born in July 1948 and educated at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he studied economics, with French and German.

Dagmar Dehmer is a journalist who has worked for the German daily "Tagesspiegel" in Berlin since 2001. Before that she worked for the business desk of the Badische Zeitung, a regional newspaper based in the southern city of Freibourg. She has specialized in the environment and development, particularly in Africa.