Could the US do the same? An increasing number of reports suggest it is not beyond the realm of possibility, and Germany could provide a road map. "Germany is conducting what I call a grand laboratory experiment," says Mark Hibbs senior associate in the nuclear policy program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
"Over next 10 years, the Germans will be challenged to make use of all of those [alternative] energy technologies to do what they need to do,” he adds. “If they succeed, its very likely we will see other countries give their nuclear programs a complete rethink."
America gets about 20 percent of its power from nuclear – similar to Germany’s 22.6 percent. Likewise, nuclear-energy advocates in America and Germany have cast doubts on renewable energy’s ability to meet the “baseload” power traditionally provided by coal and nuclear plants without harming the economy.
"There are plenty of studies showing that nuclear is key in providing baseload power,” says Mitch Singer, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry trade group in Washington. Noting that changes in wind and clouds can affect renewable-power generation, he adds: “Wind and solar are so variable they really present a problem when you put that much on the grid."