Environmental NGOs and energy campaigners around the world have welcomed a decision by the German government, who announced today (30 May) that they plan to phase out nuclear energy in their country.
The decision follows mass anti-nuclear campaigns in Germany over the last few months.
The German authorities took their seven oldest reactors 'offline' some weeks ago. The action was taken for a safety review immediately after the nuclear crisis in Japan which followed the recent earthquake and tsunami.
Today, Germany's Environment Minister, Norbert Rottgen declared that these seven reactors will never be used again. An eighth plant that has faced a string of technical problems will now also be shut.
A further six reactors will go offline by 2021 and the remaining three by 2022.
"It's definite," said Rottgen, "There will be no clause for revision".
In the UK, opponents of nuclear power urged the British government to follow Germany's lead.
Kate Hudson of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said, "If a high-skilled society such as Germany - with a strong industrial safety record - says it can't justify the risk to its citizens from nuclear power, why should it be any different here?".
She continued, "Germany looks set to ensure their energy security by investing in new technologies that will doubtless have a huge export market. Britain could be doing just the same if the government would only take a genuinely open-minded approach to this issue."
Hudson concluded, "Unless something changes, we look set to remain the nuclear dirty man of Europe".