Germany votes 'nein' to nuclear

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Germany votes 'nein' to nuclear

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Germany’s lower house of parliament has voted overwhelmingly to end the country’s nuclear energy programme by 2022.

Politicians from the centre-left Social Democrats and Greens joined with those from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition to support the key measure.

“This is a revolution,” said Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen. “It is the first time that such a big, industrial country has done such a thing, and we think it is good for the country.”

The vote sets the seal on the policy U-turn by Chancellor Angela Merkel in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear plant catastrophe in Japan.

But for some, the decision smacks of political expediency. The Greens say the decision vindicates their three decades of bitter opposition to nuclear power.

Berlin has been urged to coordinate its nuclear wind-down with its EU counterparts to ensure stable power supplies and keep costs from rising.

But Germany is confident it can get its power from renewable sources.

The upper house vote on July 8 is expected to be a formality as Merkel has a large majority there.