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Call for referendum on Germany’s nuclear power plants

“Angela Merkel’s nuclear deal brings people onto the streets because when a government leader makes deals in the backroom that call into question the security of old nuclear plants, this is a recipe for political disenchantment,”

German Opposition Seeks Nuclear Referendum, NYTimes.com, By JUDY DEMPSEY  September 20, 2010 * BERLIN — In what is seen as a direct challenge to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s energy strategy and style of leadership, the opposition Social Democrats called Monday for a referendum on the future of the country’s nuclear power plants…………..

The decision by the government to prolong the life span of 17 power plants by up to 14 years, saying it would be “a bridge” until there were sufficient supplies of renewable energy sources to make up for the closure of nuclear power plants, has been seized upon by the opposition. It accused Mrs. Merkel of doing backroom deals with Germany’s four nuclear energy companies.

“Angela Merkel’s nuclear deal brings people onto the streets because when a government leader makes deals in the backroom that call into question the security of old nuclear plants, this is a recipe for political disenchantment,” Mr. Gabriel said in an interview with Spiegel Online…………

In 2002, a law was passed by the Social Democrat-Green government, then in power, which pledged to close all nuclear power plants by 2022. The government now wants to extend the life span of some plants until around 2036.

The opposition insists that changes to the 2002 law require a vote by the Bundesrat, the upper house of Parliament, which represents the 16 states.

Mrs. Merkel said that would not be necessary since she was not abandoning plans to eventually close the plants. The government recently lost its majority in the Bundesrat after losing a major election in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The government’s stance has galvanized the opposition and antinuclear and renewable energy lobbies. They have joined forces in big protests. On Saturday, more than 100,000 people demonstrated in Berlin, according to the organizers. The police put the figure at around 40,000. Mr. Gabriel said the protests would continue.

German Opposition Seeks Nuclear Referendum – NYTimes.com

September 21, 2010 - Posted by | Germany, politics | , , , ,

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