In the 1970s, the world economy experienced an energy price shock after major oil producers imposed an embargo against the West for supporting Israel during the Yom Kippur War.
As the price of oil increased, energy independence became a priority, and Germany started commissioning more nuclear reactors. By the end of the 1980s, around 29% of Germany’s energy supply came from nuclear.
It took the nuclear disasters in Chernobyl in 1986, which was then part of the Soviet Union, and Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 to shift German public opinion against nuclear energy.
Germany’s decision to end its reliance on nuclear energy made it reliant on Russian pipeline gas.
Even though the country’s anti-nuclear stance waned after Russia invaded Ukraine — which meant it could no longer count on Russian gas — Germany still pressed ahead to close its remaining nuclear reactors by April 2023.
In the U.K., however, the Ukraine war prompted a tighter embrace of nuclear for Britain to achieve its climate goals and improve energy security.
The UK’s first nuclear power station was built in the 1950s, but it was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who, in the 1980s, proposed constructing a nuclear power station every year for a decade as part of the country’s industrial strategy.
That didn’t happen, but British public opinion, to this day, remains favorable. A study by market research firm YouGov in 2022 showed that almost half of Britons back the use of nuclear energy, compared with 31% who are opposed.
Source : CNBC