The German government has agreed to phase out nuclear power by 2022, which marks a radical shift in policy prompted by recent events at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The coalition has acted swiftly, decommissioning eight nuclear facilities with immediate effect and six more by 2021.
Angela Merkel believes the country will be able to adapt its energy needs to the changing circumstances.
“The work of the ethics commission has shown that our energy system has to be fundamentally changed and can be fundamentally changed. We want the electricity of the future to be safer and at the same time, reliable and viable,” she said.
The decision still has to pass through the parliament, but opposition parties the Social Democrats and Greens were present at the talks to ensure a broad consensus.
The Greens are led by Claudia Roth:
“Of course we are ready for consensus. But we must be included and talks must include the big environmental organisations. But so far this has not happened.”
Critics believe the policy will result in Germany relying more heavily on highly polluting brown coal.
In response Merkel said the government plans to reduce power by 10 per cent by 2020.
The announcement will be music to the ears of the tens of thousands of Germans who want an end to nuclear power in the country.