Phasing out nuclear energy in Germany

Rudig, Wolfgang (2000) Phasing out nuclear energy in Germany. German Politics, 9 (3). pp. 43-80. ISSN 0964-4008 (

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The German Red-Green government decided to phase out all nuclear power stations and stop the reprocessing of German nuclear fuel in Britain and France. The coalition agreement between the Greens and SPD set out a well-defined timetable for the implementation of this policy, involving new legislation within the first 100 days and the negotiation of a consensus with the electricity utilities to be achieved within 12 months. While these deadlines passed without political results, an agreement between the government and the nuclear utilities was reached in mid-June 2000. This analysis of the genesis and development of the policy of phasing out nuclear power focuses in particular on the difficulties of the Green Environment Minister, Jrgen Trittin, to put the anti-nuclear policies of his party into practice. It is argued that the Greens faced a 'no win' situation in their attempt to design a constitutionally and politically viable phasing out policy. The party remains caught in the middle between the radical anti-nuclear movement that continues its protest against all nuclear operations and an intransigent electricity industry fighting for its commercial self-interest to keep nuclear stations running as long as possible. A range of theoretical approaches that could help the understanding of these processes is discussed, with an 'advocacy coalition' approach appearing to be the most promising option.


Rudig, Wolfgang ORCID logoORCID:;