Tuessday, April 17, 2012
April 17, 1945, in the final days of World War II, the United States seized over half a ton of uranium in Strassfut, Germany. At the war’s end, the race was on between the United States and Russia to find German atomic facilities and nuclear experts. Russia was eager to have them for its A-bomb development program, while the United States wanted to prevent its former ally from developing nuclear capabilities. The discovery of the uranium, a key material to make an atomic bomb, was a major coup for Washington. East Germany had significant uranium mining operations starting in World War II until reunification in 1990, at which point it is abandoned because of economic and environmental concerns.
In March of last year, Germany announced the complete cessation of all nuclear reactor operations by 2022. The abrupt decision to completely end nuclear reactor operations came as a reaction to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan a month earlier. In her comments to reporters during the announcement, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her vision of Germany as a leading nation is exhibiting economic growth through a commitment to using renewable energies. “We believe that we can show those countries who decide to abandon nuclear power—or not to start using it—how it is possible to achieve growth, creating jobs and economic prosperity while shifting the energy supply toward renewable energies,” she said.