Siemens AG to exit nuclear business, focus on renewable energy

Siemens AG, Europe's largest engineering company, yesterday said that it would cease building nuclear power plants globally and focus on renewable energy after the German government decided to phase out nuclear power by 2022.

After the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami in March, the Angela Merkel government in late May announced that all the nuclear power plants in the country would be shut down by 2022, making Germany the only nuclear power producing country to officially go nuclear-free. (See: Germany to phase out nuclear power. (See: Germany to phase out nuclear power by 2020)

''The chapter for us is closed,'' Peter Löscher, CEO of Siemens, said in an interview with the weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel. The company would now focus on expanding its business in the growing renewable energy sector, he added.

He said the company's decision was also based on the growing opposition by political and the public to nuclear power in Germany.

Germany's other big ''big four'' nuclear power companies, RWE, Eon, Vattenfall and EnBW may also consider exiting the nuclear business, said the paper.

Munich-based Siemens has built all the 17 nuclear power plants in Germany, which produce a quarter of Germany's electricity.