Germany Shutters Reactor After 33-Year Run

The Grundremmingen nuclear power plant Rector B in Bavaria was shut down as 2017 came to a close as part of the country's Engergiewende or energy transition policy, German media announced Monday.

Grundremmingen NPPThe boiling water reactor (BWR), which had gone online in 1984, was switched off prematurely after a 33-year run, its commercial life ended abruptly due to the country's 2011 reaction to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Generating Station disaster in Japan that was the result of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the tsunami event that it triggered. It is the last BWR in Germany to shut down.

In June 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel did a sudden about face on nuclear power. When she rose to power in 2010, she backed a policy that would extend nuclear power in Germany by eight to 14 years, depending on the plant, despite a phase out policy enacted in 2002. The timing of the Fukushima accident, however, was so close to the policy reversal she argued for in 2010 that the political wounds were still fresh. With the public outcry renewed, Merkel backed a new phase out plan that would eliminate nuclear power by 2022 in a country that was, at the time, dependent on 17 commercial reactors for electricity generation.

The new phase out plan called for eight plants to be shuttered immediately, while the remaining would be phased out over time.

Grundremmingen Reactor C will be shuttered in 2021.

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