On the cover of its 7 July 2008 issue, Der Spiegel, one of the largest and most respected news sources in Europe, depicted the international symbol of the anti-nuclear movement (a smiling sun with the words “NUCLEAR POWER? NO THANKS” surrounding it) languishing half-submerged in the ocean with an accompanying caption that read “Atomkraft - Das unheimliche Comeback” (Nuclear Power: Its Eerie Comeback).
Due in part to the OPEC energy crisis in the 1970s, Germany began a transition to greater nuclear energy production. Demand for electricity was projected to grow by seven percent annually and the state’s solution was the construction of eight nuclear plants by 1990. Citizens in communities that were determined suitable for the building of a nuclear facility were worried about the potential dangers of nuclear energy – low-level radiation, the risk of a catastrophic disaster, the disposal of radioactive waste and other environmental impacts due to the construction and operation of the plant.