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How Merkel Decided to End Nuclear Power via The New York Times

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Published: August 13, 2011

BERLIN — How did Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse, turn its back on nuclear energy?

Most directly, the decision belonged to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Unlike other world leaders, she is a trained scientist, with a Ph.D. in physics.

She reached the momentous decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 after discussing it one night over red wine with her husband, Joachim Sauer, a physicist and university professor, at their apartment in central Berlin, according to people who spent many hours debating the issue with her but spoke only on the condition that they remain anonymous.

The decision to switch off Germany’s nuclear power plants has been widely portrayed as a sudden U-turn by Mrs. Merkel. After the nuclear disaster in Japan in March, the German public, long opposed to nuclear power, was ready to pull the plug, and their chancellor, known for shifting with the prevailing political winds, complied.

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