Germany switched off its last three nuclear reactors on Sunday, exiting atomic power even as it seeks to wean itself off fossil fuels and manage an energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. While many Western countries are upping their investments in atomic energy to reduce their emissions, Germany brought an early end to its nuclear age. It’s “the end of an era,” the RWE energy firm said in a statement shortly after midnight confirming the three reactors had been disconnected from the electricity grid. Europe’s largest economy has been looking to leave behind nuclear power since 2002, but the phase-out was accelerated by former chancellor Angela Merkel in 2011 after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. The exit decision was popular in a country with a powerful anti-nuclear movement, stoked by lingering fears of a Cold War conflict and atomic disasters such as Chernobyl in Ukraine. “The risks of nuclear power are ultimately unmanageable,” said Environment Minister Steffi Lemke, who this week made a pilgrimage to the ill-fated Japanese plant ahead of a G7 meeting in the country. Anti-nuclear demonstrators took to the streets in several German cities to mark the closures. Greenpeace, at the heart of the anti-nuclear movement, organised a celebratory party at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. “We are putting an end to a dangerous, unsustainable and costly technology,” said Green MP Juergen Trittin. In front of the Brandenburg Gate, activists symbolically slayed a model dinosaur. Initially planned for the end of 2022, Germany’s nuclear exit was delayed as Russian gas supplies dwindled.