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What Will a Nuclear-Free Germany Cost?

• http://www.technologyreview.com/
 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week released a detailed proposal to close all of Germany's 17 nuclear reactors by 2022. Merkel promises an orderly transition to replace nuclear power, which accounts for nearly one-quarter of the country's supply, with renewable power. But opposition from reactor operators could inflate the cost of that transition.

The construction of new reactors in various countries has slowed in the wake of Japan's Fukushima nuclear accident, but Merkel's plan would make Germany the first to scrap nuclear altogether.

The proposal could have a number of impacts on Germany's energy supply. Federal Economics Minister Philipp Rösler has estimated that the plan would raise power costs to German consumers by roughly one cent per kilowatt-hour, which translates to an annual increase of roughly 35 to 40 Euros ($50 to $57) per household. But Rösler's modest price tag assumes that the government will defray the cost of building offshore wind farms—currently Germany's smallest power source—to provide one-fifth of generation within two decades.

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