Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Nuclear Country Notes
A total of 17 reactor units, with an aggregate net generating capacity of 20 303 MWe, were operational at the end of 2005. Nuclear power provided 31% of Germany's net electricity generation in that year.
In June 2000, the Federal Government concluded an agreement with the German utility companies that provides for an eventual phasing-out of nuclear generation. The agreement specifies a maximum of 2 623 TWh for the lifetime production of all existing nuclear reactors, which implies an average plant lifetime of 32 years. As the newest German reactor (Neckarwestheim-2) was connected to the grid in January 1989, it could be expected to survive until 2021; however, utilities will be allowed to switch productive capacity between stations, so that the life of the newer, more economic plants could be extended by prematurely shutting down other units. Moreover, the calculated 32-year average lifespan is predicated on a capacity factor of over 90%; using a somewhat lower (and more realistic) level of, say, 85% the average plant lifetime would approach 35 years.
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 reactor due for closure under the phase-out plan is Biblis A, which came into service in 1975 and is scheduled for shutdown in February 2007.
In October 2006, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel was reported as saying that it was a mistake for the country to shut down all its nuclear plants over the ensuing 14 years, even though her coalition government was committed to the plan.