(Bloomberg) — At 10 p.m. on Saturday, the Isar-2 nuclear plant near Munich will begin winding down its power generation in steps of 10 megawatts per minute. After about 45 minutes, it will drop to 30% capacity and automatically sever from the national electricity grid.
The other two plants still in operation, Neckarwestheim-2 and Emsland, will by then be in the midst of a similar process. By midnight, all three will be offline, ending Germany’s tumultuous six-decade reliance on nuclear energy.
When the three plants, which collectively provided Germany with 6% of its power last year, finally shut off, Europe’s largest economy will face an unprecedented challenge: securing its energy supply without nuclear or Russian natural gas, and with renewables expanding at a slower pace than needed.
The decision to phase out the emissions-free power source — first codified in a 2002 law and finalized after the 2011 Fukushima disaster — also comes at a moment in which many countries are moving in the opposite direction.
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