By Tim Montgomerie
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Overnight we had confirmation that Angela Merkel's CDU/FDP coalition has abandoned plans to extend the life of Germany's ageing nuclear reactors until 2036. By 2022 Germany will become a nuclear-free power and, in preparation, reports Reuters, Merkel will "present five or six bills in Cabinet on June 6, including a revamp of feed-in-tariffs for solar, wind and biomass power, new building insulation targets and plans to build new “smart” power grids."
Mrs Merkel's u-turn follows strong performances by the German Greens in regional elections. On the back of opposition to nuclear energy the Greens topped the poll in Baden-Württemberg, in March, and overtook Merkel's CDU party in elections in Bremen last week.
One week ago Switzerland also said it would not renew its nuclear power stations, but the phase out wouldn't be complete until 2034.
I wonder if the Liberal Democrats will look to Germany and Switzerland for inspiration? The SNP's opposition to nuclear power stations was one of the under-discussed factors that helped it defeat the pro-nuclear Scottish Labour Party. With UK-wide opinion polls finding a plurality of voters AGAINST nuclear power (by 48% to 40%) the issue could provide the next tension within the Britain's Coalition. The current Lib Dem position is that they'll support nuclear power as long as it doesn't receive public subsidy – while, it should be said, supporting huge subsidies for renewable ernegies.
Meanwhile, reports WorldFinancier, India, China and other emerging economies are continuing with their nuclear power programmes. Eastern Europe, on the whole, also remains pro-nuclear because of its determination to be independent of Russia.