Berlin (AP) -- Germany stands alone among the world's leading industrialized nations in its determination to abandon nuclear energy for good because of the technology's inherent risks.
Europe's biggest economy is betting billions on expanding the use of renewable energy to meet its power demands instead. The transition was supposed to happen slowly over the next 25 years, but now it is being accelerated in the wake of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.
Chancellor Angela Merkel says the "catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions" has irreversibly marked the start of a new era.
Berlin's decision to take seven of its 17 reactors temporarily offline for new safety checks provides a window into how an industrialized nation might shift from getting a quarter of its power from atomic energy to none.