Merkel seeks deal on post-nuclear energy strategy

BERLIN - Germany's new environment minister described a planned post-nuclear switch to renewable energy in Europe's biggest economy as a "Herculean task" as 16 state premiers gathered to discuss the complex problem with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday.
Peter Altmaier, who took over as environment minister on Tuesday, vowed to break the deadlock between politicians, utilities, regulators and lobby groups whose clashing interests have undermined attempts to thrash out a strategy.
Since Merkel's abrupt policy reversal last year to shut more than half a dozen nuclear plants and speed up the nuclear phase-out after Japan's Fukushima disaster, her government has failed to set out a clear plan to manage the shift.
Industry has warned of power shortages and companies are experiencing problems with plans for offshore wind power due partly to the insufficient grid network.
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