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The Federal Ministry of Economics & Technology (BMWi) implements national energy policy.
German support for nuclear energy was very strong in the 1970s following the oil price shock of 1974, and as in France, there was a perception of vulnerability regarding energy supplies.
Germany is one of the biggest importers of gas, coal and oil worldwide, and has few domestic resources apart from lignite and renewables (but see later section). The preponderance of coal makes the country Europe’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide.
The 2016 increase in renewables generation was the smallest since 2009.
Earlier in the year this comprised: 28.2 GWe gas, 21.2 GWe lignite, 26.3 GWe hard coal and 5.6 GWe biomass, according to the Fraunhofer Institute.However, this policy faltered after the Chernobyl accident in 1986, and the last new nuclear power plant was commissioned in 1989.Whereas the Social Democratic Party (SPD) had affirmed nuclear power in 1979, in August 1986 it passed a resolution to abandon nuclear power within ten years.(See later sections.) Responsibility for licensing the construction and operation of all nuclear facilities is shared between the federal and Länder governments, which confers something close to a power of veto to both.
When Germany was reunited in 1990, all the Soviet-designed reactors in the east were shut down for safety reasons and are being decommissioned.
Other elements included: a government commitment not to introduce any "one-sided" economic or taxation measures, a recognition by the government of the high safety standards of German nuclear plants and a guarantee not to erode those standards, the resumption of spent fuel transports for reprocessing in France and UK for five years or until contracts expire, and maintenance of two waste repository projects (at Konrad and Gorleben).