Europe’s largest engineering conglomerate, Siemens, has announced that it is to halt all manufacturing for and investment in nuclear energy as a direct result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Instead, Mr Löscher said, Siemens will “expand its renewable energy activities. We will no longer be involved in managing the building or financing of nuclear plants.”
Mr Löscher attributed the decision to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan and to the German public’s fear of nuclear energy, Der Spiegel continued.
Earlier this year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that all 17 nuclear reactors in her country would be closed within the next ten years.
Only two years ago, Siemens announced plans to partner with Russian nuclear firm Rosatom to build up 400 new nuclear plants by 2030. Siemens has also been involved with every German nuclear power plant ever built.
“Germany’s shift towards renewable energies is the project of the century,” Mr Löscher added, saying that he believed Germany was on track to hit its target of generating 35 percent of its energy using natural power sources by 2020.
The Fukushima disaster is the largest nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, but it is more complex as multiple reactors and spent fuel pools are involved.
The disaster has been assessed at Lever 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), the maximum scale value. It has been estimated that it will take a workforce in the thousands several decades to clean up the area.
Last month, a spokesman for the Japanese Government said that “some areas of the evacuation zone around the nuclear plant could stay a forbidden zone for some decades. The spokesman was responding to reports that the crippled Fukushima plant was still leaking radiation.
An official statement from the Tokyo Power Company said that it would take “more than 20 years before residents could safely return to areas with current radiation readings of 200 millisieverts per year, and a decade for areas at 100 millisieverts per year.”
The total amount of iodine-131 and caesium-137 released into the atmosphere has been estimated to exceed 10 percent of the emissions from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.