November 17, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] According to reports from the Associated Press, Germany has begun phasing out the country’s nuclear power with the recent closure of the 32-year old nuclear plant at Stade in northern Germany, operated by the E.On Kernkraft utility. All 18 remaining plants are to be closed over the next two decades under an accord between utilities and the government that bears the stamp of the environmentalist Greens party, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s junior partner. Schroeder pledged to phase out Germany’s 19 nuclear plants during his first election campaign in 1998, which brought his Social Democrats and the Greens to power. Germany is the largest industrial country to willingly forgo nuclear power, which currently provides nearly one-third of the country’s electricity. Alternative energy sources such as gas, but also wind and solar power, are supposed to make up the shortfall.