Germany disconnected the first of its 19 nuclear power stations, beginning an unprecedented phase-out that aims to close all of them by 2020. Technicians at a 32-year-old nuclear plant at Stade, near Hamburg, switched off the facility.
Germany is the first major industrialized nation to renounce the technology. Nuclear power provides nearly one-third of the country's electricity. The government argues that eliminating it will spur utilities to spend billions on new, cleaner-burning gas generators as well as wind turbines and solar panels.