Germany vows nuclear shutdown by 2022 (VIDEO)


A demonstrator attends a protest on May 22, 2011, in Dottingen, northern Switzerland against nuclear power.


Fabrice Coffrini

Germany's ruling coalition has pledged to shut all of the country's nuclear reactors by 2022 in the wake of a nuclear disaster in Japan.

Germany would thereby become the first major industrialized nation to shut all its nuclear plants, Al Jazeera reports.

"It's definite. The latest end for the last three nuclear power plants is 2022. There will be no clause for revision," Environment Minister Norbert Rottgen said as part of a formal announcement Monday.

The country's seven oldest reactors were closed temporarily in March and will not be resumed, he said as reported by the BBC. An eight reactor, the Kruemmel nuclear power plant, will also be shut.

Six others will be shut by 2021, and the three newest by 2022, he said.

The announcement came after Chancellor Angela Merkel had set up an ethics panel to look into nuclear power in the country.

"The events in Japan have shown us that even things that seem all but impossible scientifically can in fact happen," Merkel said at a Berlin news conference as reported by CNN.

An earthquake and tsunami hit Japan March 11 and damaged its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, causing it to emit large amounts of radiation and sparking global calls for tougher safety measures. 

Nuclear reactors provide Germany 22 percent of its electricity needs, Al Jazeera reports. The government will now have to look into new ways to make up for that energy.

The decision will still need to go through Parliament.