Nuclear in Germany

Installed capacity0.34ktoe

Production2.9Mtoe per year


Germany has 9 nuclear reactors which supply almost one fifth of its electricity demand. A coalition government formed after the 1998 federal elections had the phasing out of nuclear energy as a feature of its policy.  With a new government in 2009, the phase-out was cancelled, but then reintroduced in 2011, with eight reactors to shut down immediately.  The cost of replacing nuclear power with renewables is estimated by the government to amount to some EUR 1000 billion.  Public opinion in Germany remains negative to nuclear power and at present does not support building new nuclear plants. Germany’s electricity production in 2011 was 629 billion kWh (TWh) gross with coal providing 278 TWh (45%, more than half being lignite), nuclear 108 TWh (17.5%), gas 84 TWh (13.7%), biofuels & waste 43.6 TWh (7.1%), wind 46.5 TWh (7.6%), hydro 24.6 TWh (4%), solar 19 TWh (3%). Electricity exports exceeded imports by about 4 TWh, compared with 15 TWh in 2010, but Germany remains one of the biggest importers of gas, coal and oil in the world, and has few domestic resources apart from lignite and renewables.

Germany’s pioneer PWR, the 340 MWe (net) unit at Obrigheim, was shut down on 11 May 2005 under the terms of the 2000 nuclear phase-out agreement, after 36 years of successful operation. The next reactors due for closure under the phase-out plan are three PWRs; Biblis A (net capacity 1 167 MWe, which came into service in 1975), Biblis B (1 240 MWe, 1977) and Neckarwestheim (785 MWe, 1976). Many of the units are large (they total 20,339 MWe), and the last came into commercial operation in 1989. Six units are boiling water reactors (BWR), 11 are pressurised water reactors (PWR). All were built by Siemens-KWU. A further PWR had not operated since 1988 because of a licensing dispute. This picture changed in 2011, with the operating fleet being reduced to nine reactors with 12,003 MWe capacity.