BBC News, 5 March 2011
Germany has temporarily shut down seven of its nuclear power plants while it reconsiders its nuclear strategy.
|Germany had decided to prolong the life of its|
nuclear power plants
Chancellor Angela Merkel said all reactors that went into operation before 1980 would be taken offline, while safety checks would be carried on the country's remaining plants.
All safety questions would be answered by 15 June, she said.
The decision comes after concerns about radiation leaks at a Japanese plant after last Friday's earthquake.
Last year, Germany decided to extend the life of its 17 nuclear power plants by 12 years, but that decision was suspended for three months on Monday.
The government had faced growing pressure for the extension to be scrapped.
More than a quarter of all German electricity comes from nuclear power.
The Swiss government has also suspended decisions on its nuclear programme.
The European Commission is holding a meeting of ministers and experts on Tuesday to discuss the implications of the explosions at Japanese reactors on the European nuclear industry.
Concerns are growing about radiation leaks at a nuclear plant in Japan that has been hit by a third explosion in four days following last week's earthquake and resulting tsunami.
The blast occurred at reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi plant - 250km (155 miles) north-east of Tokyo - which engineers had been trying to stabilise after two other reactors exploded.