Green groups on Friday celebrated as Germany prepared to shut down three of its six remaining nuclear power plants, part of that country\u0026#039;s ambitious goal of transitioning to mostly renewable energy by the end of the decade.\r\n\r\n\u0022Wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower are forms of energy that protect the environment and climate, are safe, and affordable. The future lies in their use.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe nuclear phaseout—which was proposed by the center-left government of former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at the turn of the century and accelerated under former Chancellor Angela Merkel following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan—is a key component of a plan by Germany\u0026#039;s new Social Democrat, Green, and Free Democrat governing coalition to produce 80% of the country\u0026#039;s power from renewable sources by the end of the decade.\r\n\r\nRenewables accounted for 43% of German electricity consumption through the first three quarters of 2021, down from 48% during the same period last year, according to Clean Energy Wire.\r\n\r\n\u0022By massively increasing renewable energy and accelerating the expansion of the electricity grid we can show that this is possible in Germany,\u0022 said Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck, who is the co-leader of the Greens.\r\n\r\nGreenpeace Germany tweeted Friday: \u0022Wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower are forms of energy that protect the environment and climate, are safe, and affordable. The future lies in their use.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nDeutsche Presse-Agentur International reports:\r\n\r\n\r\nThe nuclear power plants in Brokdorf in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, Grohnde in Lower Saxony, and Unit C at Gundremmingen in Bavaria in the south are taken off the grid and decommissioned on New Year\u0026#039;s Eve.\r\n\r\nThis means that in 2022 only three remaining nuclear power plants—in the states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, and Lower Saxony—will still be supplying electricity, until in exactly one year\u0026#039;s time they are also due to cease production, officially ending the nuclear phaseout started under Angela Merkel. However, two plants that produce fuel and fuel elements for export may continue to operate.\r\n\r\n\r\nAccording to Deutsche Welle, \u0022The decommissioning process will take two decades and cost €1.1 billion ($1.25 billion) per plant.\u0022\r\n\r\nOutside the Brokdorf plant, a group of mostly elderly demonstrators ended a 35-year protest against nuclear power with their 425th and final vigil.\r\n\r\n\u0022I\u0026#039;m glad it\u0026#039;s being phased out,\u0022 pastor and protest organizer Hans-Günter Werner told DW. \u0022I\u0026#039;m not sad, but I am a little nostalgic because I know that we won\u0026#039;t meet again soon. But for the most part, I feel relieved that the operation of the nuclear power plant is finally coming to an end.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022We didn\u0026#039;t expect that we would need to stand here for so long,\u0022 he added.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSome climate campaigners decried the closures, which are taking place amid a severe energy crisis. Last week, Extinction Rebellion Poland held a protest at the German consulate in Opole against what the group called the \u0022premature\u0022 move.\r\n\r\nOthers noted Germany\u0026#039;s relatively high level of dependence upon coal, which fueled nearly a quarter of the country\u0026#039;s electricity last year. Last year, the German government announced it would spend $44.5 billion to quit coal by 2038.\r\n\r\nHowever, anti-nuclear activists and government officials pointed to the long-term dangers posed by accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima, and nuclear waste—which experts say will remain radioactive for tens of thousands of years—in defense of the shutdowns.\r\n\r\n\u0022Nuclear power plants remain high-risk facilities that produce highly radioactive atomic waste,\u0022 said German Environmental Minister Steffi Lemke, a member of the Greens.\r\n\r\nNeighboring nations receiving German nuclear fuel generate much of their energy from atomic power. France derives about 70% of its electricity from 56 nuclear power plants, while such facilities provide Switzerland and Belgium with between 30% and 40% of their electric power.