Chancellor Angela Merkel tied a deadweight around the ankles of her country when she suddenly - and flippantly - abandoned her nuclear policy after Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011. "This has forever changed the way we define risk," she said at the time. "It's over."


Utilities are turning to coal - and cheap lignite, emitting 30pc more CO2 - to plug the gap. Germany's greenhouse emissions rose 1.6pc last year. In the US they fell to a 20-year low thanks to the switch from coal to shale gas. Sudden surges of power - the intermittency effect - are overloading the grid and crippling utilities E.ON and RWE. The pair have threatened to shut down 21,000MW of power plants.

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