Mrs Merkel has ordered all nuclear plants built before 1980, a total of six, to be closed down for three months entirely for the duration of the reviews.

The plants shutdown are npower’s two plants at Biblis, EnBW’s Neckarwestheim and Philippsburg, Eon’s Unterweser and Vattenfall’s Brunsbuttel.

All other plants will be reviewed as they carry on with normal operations however, Mrs Merkel, stressed the outcome of the review remained ‘open’.

“The disaster in Japan means that not only Germany, but the entire world, is suddenly confronted with an entirely different situation,” the German chancellor said.

“We should take this as an opportunity to review the situation with an entirely open mind.

“The federal and state governments want to use the time to push ahead even faster with renewable energies.

“In particular, all stakeholders intend to accelerate the expansion of the electricity network.”

In its Energy Strategy 2050 the German government recently decided to invest billions in the country’s infrastructure for renewable energies.

Luke Walsh

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