Germans rally against nuclear power

TENS of thousands of activists have protested against Germany’s plans to prolong its dependency on nuclear power, as an explosion at a quake-hit plant in Japan fuelled fears of a meltdown.

About 60,000 people formed a 45km human chain between the nuclear power station of Neckarwestheim and the city of Stuttgart in south-west Germany on Saturday, said Jochen Stay, a member of green group Ausgestrahlt (Radiated).

Activists organised the rally to protest against Berlin’s plans to extend the lives of nuclear power stations, a key voter issue in polls that will take place two weeks later in Bade-Wurtemberg region, where Stuttgart is located.

Environmental groups have also called for “anti-nuclear vigils” across the nation beginning on Monday at 5pmĀ  GMT (4am AEDT Tuesday).

The demonstration took place on the same day as an explosion at a nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, raising fears of a radioactive meltdown following an 8.9 magnitude earthquake that unleashed tsunamis that destroyed everything in their path on Friday.

The government ordered the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents living within a three-kilometre radius of the plant.

The German parliament in late 2009 voted to extend the use of its nuclear stations, reneging on a plan to gradually end their use under previous chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

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