Germany investor confidence falls as govt suspends 7 nuclear plants

15 March 2011 15:31  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Germany’s investor confidence fell for the first time in six months in March as the country’s government suspended operations at seven older nuclear plants on Tuesday because of the nuclear crisis in Japan.

Mannheim-based ZEW Centre for European Economic Research said its widely-followed investor confidence index fell 1.6 points in March, to 14.1 points.

The centre pointed, in particular, to impacts from the earthquake in Japan, which could slow down "the dynamics" of Germany's economic growth in the short run, it said.

Meanwhile, Germany’s government said it suspended operations at seven nuclear power plants, all built before 1980, subject to safety checks in light of the problems at nuclear facilities in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami there.

The government also suspended, for three months, a recent move to extend operations of the country’s nuclear industry to 2036 from 2022.

While Germany was not exposed to earthquakes or tsunamis, the “apocalyptic” dimensions of the Japanese nuclear catastrophe were casting doubts on the safety of nuclear plants worldwide, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a press briefing.

Germany's chemical and energy union IG BCE welcomed the government’s measures, but said they did not go far enough.

Union head Michael Vassiliadis said the earlier move to extend the life-span of Germany’s nuclear plants had been wrong. He called on the country to quickly exit nuclear power generation.

The government should shift energy policies towards clean-coal technologies and carbon capture and storage, he added.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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