Germany said recently that it will shut down all its nuclear reactors within 11 years. Most of the media coverage I have seen portrays this as a response to the nuclear tragedy caused by Japan’s earthquake. Indeed several of Germany’s reactors were taken off line for inspections following the quake in Japan, but I think there is another, more encouraging reason for Germany’s decision. Right now wind, solar, and other renewables make up almost 20% of Germany’s electric power generation. This figure is growing at a brisk pace. I think that by the planned retirement of all their nuclear reactors in 2022, renewable energy will pretty much make up for the nuclear generation. Some Germans feel that this time-line is too conservative and think the reactors should be closed at a quicker pace. This is not a big issue here in the U.S. since a much smaller percentage of our electricity is generated by nuclear plants. It is too bad, however that the U.S. is not at the same point as other countries with renewable energy. I did think this was a good article summarizing Germany’s decision to end nuclear power generation.