The fact that Germany, in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, redoubled its efforts to phase out nuclear energy has nothing to do with hysteria or postwar angst. On the contrary, a majority of Germans, including much of the political class, has been unconvinced of its merits since the early 1980s; the source of this anti-atom consensus lies not in emotional populism but rather in the persuasive, fact-based arguments of a powerful, grassroots social movement that has long included nuclear physicists and other bona fide experts.
This paper is part one of a six-part series on the German Energy Transition (Energiewende). The authors are experts on different issues such as renewable energies, rural communities, social movements, and nuclear power. The papers are published in the summer of 2012.
Paul Hockenos is an American writer in Berlin. In his blog Going Renewable, he writes regularly on German and European energy policy.
Download Angst or Arithmetic? (6 pages, pdf, 1.44MB)