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The anti-nuclear movement in transition

“Fukushima has stirred up the German population”, Greenpeace expert Björn Jettka states in an interview with the Alumniportal Deutschland. In the face of the catastrophe in Japan, the anti-nuclear movement has gathered new momentum. Over the Easter weekend 2011 alone, 100,000 people took to the streets in protest against nuclear power. The communication strategist is sure: “The forms of protest are more profound and diverse than they were at the beginning of the movement.”

In addition to traditional protest methods such as demonstrations and human chains, the internet enables the quick and direct mobilisation of people. “People want to put their impulse, which is triggered by the information gathered, into action immediately”, Jettka explains. By using app campaigns, participation communities, such as greenaction.de, and anti-nuclear groups in social networks like Facebook, the protest and participation movement reaches hundreds of thousands of interested people within a very short time.

„These people do not necessarily belong to political groupings, like they did in the past”, Jettka analyses. Through the internet, today everyone can become active, without having to turn the protest into the main focus of their lives.


The anti-nuclear movement in transition

In the 1970s, the resistance was initiated mostly by local citizens’ groups. Their main impetus was to prevent the construction of new power plants. At the beginning of the 1980s, the debate focussed on the reprocessing and the permanent disposal of nuclear waste. The nuclear disposal site in Gorleben became the central point of the discussion. “X-tausendmal quer” was one of protest movements which emerged In the 1990s. It takes part in the resistance against castor transports to temporary storage places for spent fuel elements. Blockades continue to lead to clashes between the police and demonstrators.


The “phase-out of the phase-out“ fuels the discussion

The announcement of the phase-out of nuclear power by the German coalition government in the year 2000 initially relaxed the situation. But in 2010, the German parliament decided an extended running time for nuclear power plants, which had been initiated by the CDU/CSU (Christian Democratic Union/ Christian Social Union) and the FDP (Free Democratic Party). The “phase-out of the phase-out“, the catastrophe of Fukushima in Japan and the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl have all served to fuel the renewed debate of nuclear power.

The aim remains the same: „Shut down all nuclear power plants“

While in Germany even the meeting of the stockholders of the energy company RWE is turned into an anti-nuclear demonstration by whistles, transparents and boos, people in France and England are astonished at the “German protesters“, as the magazin Spiegel-online writes. “Poland mocks the German panic of nuclear power“, zeit.de reports. Austria, on the other hand, is supportive. There are no nuclear power plants there up to the present day.

The aim of the anti-nuclear movement is that in Germany too the last nuclear power plant will eventually be shut down. The motto is “Shut down all nuclear power plants“. The philosophy of the platform greenaction.de indicates how they plan to achieve this aim: “One voice will grow into a loud choir.”

Alumniportal member Alexander Gravenhorst wrote a blog on the Alumniportal Deutschland about this topic.

May 2011

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