Merkel was quoted by the AFP as saying, "We cannot just go back to business as usual..Events in Japan ... teach us that risks that were thought to be completely impossible cannot in fact be completely ruled out."
Japan is in the midst of probably the worst nuclear disaster surpassing Chernobyl and the World War II. The earth-quake and the subsequent tsunami has damaged nuclear reactors in Japan and the radiations thus coming out has affected thousands in an adverse way and threatens to engulf many other. If the worst is confirmed then generations to come in Japan will bear the mark of the catastrophe just the way it happened and still happens in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Alarmed by the situation, Germany has already frozen its plans of postponing the shutdown of its 17 nuclear reactors. However with Merkel's announcement, it seems that Germany will turn off some of its oldest nuclear reactors which are in operation since the 1970s. The first in line is Neckarwestheim 1 reactor near Stuttgart in southwest Germany. It would have already been out of service had Merkel not defied a public opinion and extended its operating time from 2010.
Others that could follow are Biblis A south of Frankfurt and Isar I in Bavaria.