Germany to phase out nuclear power by 2022

Germany's government today said that all the country's nuclear power plants would be shut down by 2022, making it the only nuclear power producing country to officially go nuclear-free since the Japanese disaster.

Nuclear plants produce a quarter of Germany's electricity, and the coalition government's agreement to shut them down is seen as risky by some observers; but it is expected to put the country at the forefront of conversion to renewable energy sources.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the move was announced, ''To generate the electricity of the future we need to give our energy system an entirely new architecture.''

India meanwhile is going ahead with its plan to build what will be the world's biggest nuclear plant, despite massive local and environmental protests at the plant site.

Going by international trends, there are unlikely to be new contenders for the Jaitapur plant's title of 'world's biggest' in future.

Germany has 17 nuclear plants, of which eight will be switched off this year. The country's seven oldest reactors already taken off the grid pending safety inspections following the catastrophe at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant in March will remain offline permanently, environment minister Norbert Roettgen said.