Nuclear scandal excites German campaign

Claims that a controversial atomic energy report has been buried by a German cabinet minister have pushed nuclear power back into the election headlines. The scandal threatens to become a political hot potato less than two weeks before the vote, with many Germans deeply wary of nuclear plants and how to handle its waste.

The German edition of the respected Financial Times newspaper claims Research Minister Annette Schavan has been sitting on plans for new atomic plants, despite an official policy of phasing them out. Indeed, Berlin has just approved the building of thousands of new wind turbines in the Baltic, to appease critics who say they are ugly and ruin the countryside.

The nuclear issue is unlikely to harm Chancellor Angela Merkel as she heads into an election as the expected victor. But it gives her rival Frank-Walter Steinmeier an opportunity to attack her, especially as she is eyeing a post-election coalition with the Free Democrats, who have long been keen supporters of atomic energy.


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