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Anti-nuclear movement in Germany

The anti-nuclear movement in Germany has a long history dating back to the early 1970s when large demonstrations prevented the construction of a nuclear plant at Wyhl . The Wyhl protests were an example of a local community challenging the nuclear industry through a strategy of direct action and civil disobedience. Police have been accused of using unnecessarily violent means. Anti-nuclear success at Wyhl has been tested in Germany , in other parts of Europe , and in North America . A few years later protests raised against the NATO Double-Track Decision in Germany and were followed by the foundation of theGreen party .

In 1986, large parts of Germany were covered with radioactive contamination from the Chernobyl disaster and Germans went to great lengths to deal with contamination. Germany’s anti-nuclear stance was strengthened. From the mid-1990s onwards, anti-nuclear protesters were primarily directed against the transport of radioactive waste in “CASTOR” containers .

In September 2010, German government policy shifted back to nuclear energy, and this generated some new anti-nuclear sentiment in Berlin and beyond. On September 18, 2010, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office. In October 2010, tens of thousands of people protested in Munich. In November 2010, there were violent protests against a train carrying reprocessed nuclear waste.

Within days of the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster , large anti-nuclear protests occurred in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel promptly “forced a three-month moratorium on previously announced extensions for Germany’s existing nuclear power plants, while shutting seven of the 17 reactors that had been operating since 1981”. Protests continued and, on May 29, 2011, Merkel’s government announced that it would close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. [2] [2] Galvanized by the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, first anniversary of anti-nuclear demonstrations were held in Germany in March 2012. Organizers say more than 50,000 people in six regions took part. [4]

Early years

German publications of the 1950s and 1960s contained criticism of some features of nuclear power. Nuclear waste disposal was widely recognized as a major problem, with concern in 1954. In 1964, it was necessary to make the necessary provisions for nuclear waste. to forego the development of nuclear energy “. [5]

In the early 1960s there was a proposal for a nuclear power station in West Berlin, but the project was dropped in 1962. Another attempt to site a reactor in a major city was made in 1967, when BASF planned to build a nuclear power station on its ground at Ludwigshafen, to supply process steam. Eventually the project was withdrawn by BASF. [5]

The tiny hamlet of Wyhl, located just outside the Kaiserstuhl wine-growing area in the southwestern corner of Germany, was first mentioned in 1971 as a possible site for a nuclear power station. In the years that followed, local opposition steadily mounted, but this had little impact on politicians and planners. February 18, 1975. [6] On February 18, local people spontaneously occupied the site and police removed them forcibly two days later. Television coverage of police dragging away farmers and their wives through the mud helped to turn nuclear power into a major national issue. [7]The rough treatment was widespread and made the wine-growers, clergy, and others all the more determined. Some local police refused to take part in the action. [8]

Subsequent support from the nearby university town of Freiburg. On February 30th, 30,000 people are re-occupied and they are abandoned by the state government. On March 21, 1975, an administrative court with the construction license for the plant. [9] [10] [11] [12] The plant was never built and the land eventually became a nature reserve. [11]

The Wyhl occupation generated extensive national debate. This initial focus on the state of management and behavior, but interest in nuclear issues has also been stimulated. The Wyhl experience encouraged the formation of citizen action groups near other planned nuclear sites. [9] [12] Many other anti-nuclear groups formed elsewhere, in support of these local struggles, and some existing citizens’ action groups. This is how the German anti-nuclear movement evolved. [9] [12] Anti-nuclear success at Wyhl also inspired by the opposition in the rest of Europe and North America. [6] [10] [12]

Other protests

In 1976 and 1977, mass demonstrations took place at Kalkar , the site of Germany’s first fast breeder reactor , and at Brokdorf , north of Hamburg. [9] Some of these demonstrations, which are always started peacefully, were organized by the World Union for Protection of Life . [14] The circumstances at Brokdorf were similar to those of Wyhl, in which the behavior of the police was again crucial:

The authorities have been granted a license to reinstate the laws of the United States. Demonstrators trying to enter the site, and all this helped consolidate the population in opposition. [9]

In February 1977 the Minister-President of Lower Saxony , Ernst Albrecht of the Christian Democratic Union, announced that the salt mines in Gorleben would be used to store radioactive waste . New Protests on Gorleben on March 12, 1977. Protests about Gorleben for more years [15] and, in 1979, the prime minister declared that plans for a nuclear waste plant in Gorleben were “impossible to enforce for political reasons”. [16]

In 1980 an Inquiry Commission of the Bundestag proposed “a paradigmatic change in energy policy away from nuclear power”. This contribution to a broad shift in German public opinion, the formation of the Green Party , and its election to the German Bundestag in 1983. [17]

In the early 1980s plans to build a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the Bavarian town of Wackersdorf lead to major protests. In 1986, West German police were confronted by demonstrators armed with slingshots, crowds and Molotov cocktails at the site of a nuclear reprocessing plant in Wackersdorf . [18] [19] The plans for the plant were abandoned in 1988. It still is not clear [11]

In 1981, Germany’s largest anti-nuclear demonstration took place against the construction of the Brokdorf Nuclear Power Plant on the North Sea coast of Hamburg. Some 100,000 people face to face with 10,000 police officers. Twenty-one policemen were injured by demonstrators armed with gasoline bombs, sticks, stones and high-powered slingshots. [11] [20] [21] The plant began operations in October 1986 and is scheduled to close in 2018. [11]

Chernobyl disaster

The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 was a pivotal event for Germany’s anti-nuclear movement. After the radioactive fallout cloud covered large parts of the country, Germans went to great lengths to deal with the contamination. Contaminated areas were destroyed, sandboxes were replaced and sandboxes were replaced. [22]

Following Chernobyl, the Green Party strived for the immediate shut-down of all nuclear facilities. The SPD for a nuclear phase-out within ten years. Länder governments, municipalities, parties and trade unions explored the issue of “whether the use of nuclear power technology is reasonable and sensitive for the future”. [16]

In May 1986 clashes between anti-nuclear protesters and West German police became common. More than 400 people were injured in mid-May at the site of a nuclear-waste reprocessing plant being built near Wackersdorf. Police “used water cannons and dropped tear-gas grenades from helicopters to subdue protesters armed with slingshots, crowbars and Molotov cocktails”. [23]

More recent developments

Several advanced reactor designs in Germany were unsuccessful. Two fast breeder reactors were built, but both were closed in 1991 with greater success. The High Temperature Reactor THTR-300 at Hamm-Uentrop, under construction since 1970, was started in 1983, but was shut down in September 1989. [17]

The anti-nuclear protests were also a driving force of the green movement in Germany, from which the party The Greens evolved. When they first came to power in the Schröder administrationof 1998 they achieved their major political goal for which they had fought for 20 years: abandoning nuclear energy in Germany .

From the mid-1990s onwards, anti-nuclear protesters were primarily directed against the transport of radioactive waste called “beaver” containers. In 1996 there were sit-ins against the second beaver consignment of nuclear waste from The Hague in France to Gorleben. In 1997 the third castor transport reached Gorleben despite the efforts of several thousand protesters. [24]

In 2002, “The effect of the structure of the utilization of nuclear energy for the commercial generation of electricity” took effect, following a drawn-out political debate and lengthy negotiations with the nuclear power plant operators. The nuclear power plant was the first one to go offline in November 2003, followed by the Obrigheim Nuclear Power Plant in 2005. Block-A of the Nuclear Power Biblis Planting is scheduled to be shut down in 2008. [11] [25] Block-B is going back online after a year-long shutdown on December 13 or 14, 2007 and is scheduled to continue operating until 2009 or 2012. [ 26]

In 2007, there was concern about conservative politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel and Economics Minister Michael Glos , which is still in question. [11] WISE along with other anti-nuclear movement groups contend que la climate problem can only be solved by the use of renewable forms of energy along with efficient and economical energy technologies . [27]

In summer 2008, a cover of the German magazine Der Spiegel read Atomkraft – Das unheimliche Comeback (Nuclear Power – Its eerie comeback). As a consequence the Germans anti-nuclear organization has decided to coordinate the various anti-nuclear movements on their website. [28] Anti-nuclear Monday evening walks become popular in various German cities.

In November 2008, a shipment of radioactive waste from german nuclear plants arrived at a storage site near Gorleben after being delayed by large protests from nuclear activists. More than 15,000 people took part in the protests, which involved blocking trucks with sit-down demonstrations and blocking the road with tractors. The demonstrations have been selected for the purpose of conservative calls for a rethink of the planned phase of nuclear power stations. [29] [30] [31]

In April 2009, activists blocked the controversial Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant with an 8-meter wall. Their protest coincided with the annual meeting of the company that runs the plant, EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg . [32]

Also in April 2009 about 1,000 people in the north-western city of Münster. Located southwest of Hamburg, Münster is surrounded by a nuclear waste dump at Ahaus, Germany’s only uranium enrichment plant at Gronau and another such plant at Almelo in neighbouring Holland. [33]

On April 24, 2010, about 120,000 people built a human chain ( KETTENreAKTION! ) Between the nuclear plants Krümmel and Brunsbüttel . This way they were demonstrating against the plans of the German government to extend the period of producing nuclear power. [34] Demonstrations were also held in other German cities “where is the opinion of the public? [35]

In September 2010, German government policy shifted back to nuclear energy, and this generated some new anti-nuclear sentiment in Berlin and beyond. [36] On September 18, 2010, Chancellor Merkel’s Angela Merkel’s office in an anti-nuclear demonstration said that it was the biggest victim of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. [37] In October 2010, Angela Merkel’s Coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government. Protesters called for a move away from nuclear power towards renewable energy . The action was the biggest anti-nuclear event in Bavaria for more than two decades.[38]

In November 2010, police wielding batons clashed with protesters who disrupted the passage of a train carrying reprocessed nuclear waste from France to Germany. The train carrying the nuclear waste was heading for Dannenberg where the 123 tons of waste was loaded onto trucks and taken to the local storage facility of Gorleben, in central Germany. Tens of thousands of protesters in Dannenberg to signal their opposition to the cargo. Organizers said 50,000 people had turned out the police said the figure was closer to 20,000. Around 16,000 police were mobilized to deal with the protests. [39] [40]

Post Fukushima

See also: 2011 Japanese nuclear accidents and International reaction to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster § Europe
The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, the worst nuclear accident in 25 years, displaced 50,000 after radiation leaked into the air, soil and sea. [41] Radiation checks led to bans of some shipments of vegetables and fish. [42]
In light of the Fukushima nuclear disaster , public opposition intensified. 60,000 Germans participated in a protest on 12 March 2011, [3] forming a 45-km human chain from Stuttgart to the Neckarwestheim power plant. [43] 110,000 people protested in 450 other German cities on 14 March, with opinion polls indicating 80% of Germans opposed the government’s extension of nuclear power. [3] On March 15, 2011, Angela Merkel Said That seven nuclear power plants qui Went online before 1980 Would Be temporarily closed and the Time Would Be used to study speedier renewable energy commercialization. Merkel has made a previous decision to keep a better life. [44]

Train proponents of nuclear energy Such As Angela Merkel , Guido Westerwelle , Stefan Mappus -have changed Their positions, [45] yet 71% of the population believe That to be a tactical maneuver related to upcoming state elections. [46] In the largest anti-nuclear demonstration ever held in Germany, some 250,000 people protested on March 26 under the slogan “Fukushima reminds – shut off all nuclear plants.” [47] The March 27 state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinatesaw the Greens gain their voting share significantly as a result of their long-time anti-nuclear policy, ending up with the second largest share of the vote in the Baden-Württemberg election. [48]

In March 2011, more than 200,000 people took part in anti-nuclear protests in four large German cities, on the eve of state elections. Organisers called it the biggest anti-nuclear demonstration in the world, with police estimating that 100,000 people turned out in Berlin alone. Hamburg, Munich and Cologne also saw big demonstrations. [49] The New York Times reported that “most Germans have a deep-seated aversion to nuclear power, and the damage at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan has galvanized opposition”. [50] Thousands of Germans demanding an end to the use of nuclear power took part in nationwide demonstrations on April 2, 2011. About 7,000 people took part in anti-nuclear protests in Bremen. About 3,000 people protested outside ofRWE’s headquarters in Essen. Other smaller rallies were held elsewhere. [51]

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition announced on May 30, 2011, that Germany’s nuclear power stations will be shut down by 2022, in a reversal policy following Japan’s Fukushima I nuclear accidents . Seven of the German power stations were closed in March, and they will remain off-line and be permanently decommissioned. An eighth was already off line, and will stay so. [52]Between 2011 and 2014 Germany burned more coal, an additional 9.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent. [53]

In November 2011, thousands of anti-nuclear protesters delayed carrying radioactive waste from France to Germany. Many clashes and obstructions made the journey in the early days of 1995. The shipment, the first since Japan’s Fukishima nuclear disaster, faced large protests in France where activists damaged the train tracks. [54] Thousands of people in Germany also broke the train’s journey, forcing it to proceed at a snail’s pace, covering 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) in 109 hours. More than 200 people have been reported injured in the protests and several arrests were made. [54]Galvanized by the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, first anniversary anti-nuclear demonstrations were held in Germany in March 2012. Organizers say more than 50,000 people in six regions took part. [4]

People with anti-nuclear views

  • Karl Bechert
  • Hermann Behmel
  • Hildegard Breiner
  • Rolf Disch
  • Hans-Peter Dürr
  • Hans-Josef Fell
  • Erich Fromm
  • Siegwart Horst Günther
  • Robert Jungk
  • André Larivière
  • Irene Meichsner
  • Rainer Moormann
  • Claudia Roth
  • Rüdiger Sagel
  • Hermann Scheer
  • Jens Scheer
  • Inge Schmitz-Feuerhake
  • Michael Sladek
  • Ursula Sladek
  • Klaus Traube
  • Roland Vogt
  • Armin Weiss


Spiegel Online has presented this timeline of events associated with the anti-nuclear power movement in Germany: [24]

  • 1975: Fight about a new nuclear power plant for Whyl.
  • 1976: Clashes between police and protesters at the Brokdorf construction site.
  • 1977: Clashes between anti-nuclear activists and security forces at Brokdorf.
  • 1977: 50,000 people protest against the construction of a fast breeder reactor at Kalkar in the lower Rhine region.
  • 1979: Following the Three Mile Island accident , 100,000 people demonstrated against plans for a reprocessing plant at Gorleben
  • 1979: The anti-nuclear movement grows and 150,000 people demonstrated in Bonn, demanding the closure of all nuclear facilities.
  • 1980: 5,000 people occupy the site of the proposed nuclear repository at Gorleben.
  • 1981: Riots in Brokdorf between 10,000 police and 100,000 anti-nuclear protesters.
  • 1984: 4,000 anti-nuclear protesters blocked all access roads to Gorleben for 12 hours.
  • 1986: 100,000 people demonstrated in the Bavarian village of Wackersdorf against a planned reprocessing plant.
  • 1986: After the Chernobyl disaster , hundreds of thousands of people against nuclear power in various locations.
  • 1995: From the mid-1990s onwards, anti-nuclear protests were primarily directed against the transport of radioactive waste called “beaver” containers.
  • 1996: Sit-ins against the second beaver consignment of nuclear waste from The Hague in France to Gorleben.
  • 1997: The third beaver transport reaches Gorleben despite the efforts of several thousand protesters.
  • 2004: A 21-year-old man was killed during protests against the beaver carriage after a train severed his leg.
  • 2008: 15,000 people protest against the eleventh beaver transport.
  • 2009: Tens of thousands demonstrated in Berlin under the motto “Turn Them Off”, and called for the decommissioning of all nuclear facilities worldwide.
  • 2010: 120,000 people formed a 120-kilometer long human chain between the nuclear power plants at Krummel and Brunsbuttel, to protest against the federal government’s nuclear policy. [24]
  • 2011: Following the Fukushima I nuclear accidents in March, quiet regular demonstrations (Mahnwachen) are Held on Monday in Each Hundreds of places in Germany Each Time Attracting more than 100,000 people. On March 26, 250,000 people protest against nuclear energy in four cities ( Berlin , Cologne , Hamburg and Munich ). On May 31, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government announces a phase-out of Germany’s nuclear industry by 2022.


  • Anti-WAAhnsinns Festival
  • Black block
  • Brokdorf
  • Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland
  • Free Republic of Wendland
  • Nuclear power in Germany
  • Nuclear power phase-out
  • Nuclear reprocessing plant Wackersdorf
  • Renewable energy commercialization
  • Renewable energy in Germany


  • List of anti-nuclear advocates in Germany
  • List of Nuclear-Free Future Award recipients
  • List of anti-nuclear power groups
  • List of books about nuclear issues
  • List of Chernobyl-related articles
  • List of nuclear whistleblowers
  • Nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents


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