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German MPs Vote To Shut Down Nuclear Energy By 2022


Greenpeace protesters at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on May 29 to express opposition to nuclear power
Germany's lower house of parliament today approved the government's plan to shut down the country's nuclear power plants by 2022.

The Bundestag voted 513-79 for the shutdown plan drawn up by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government after Japan's postearthquake nuclear disaster.

Most of the opposition voted in favor; eight lawmakers abstained.

German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen told lawmakers before the vote that Germany should lead the way for other countries in limiting nuclear power.

"To those who complain, including those from abroad, we say: If anyone should do it, if any country should do it, then it will be the Germans. And that is our message today," he said. "The Germans will get to work and it will be good for our country because we are all in this together."

The upper house is scheduled to vote next week.

Berlin shut eight of the older reactors, which were taken off the grid after the Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant was ravaged by an earthquake and tsunami in March, triggering a serious environmental and humanitarian crisis.

European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told German radio today that energy policy is a matter for each EU state to decide for itself.

Oettinger said Germany needs to coordinate its planned exit from nuclear power with its European partners.

compiled from agency reports