Nuclear Politics

EC Clears Creation Of €24 Billion Public Fund For Handling Radwaste In Germany

By Kamen Kraev
19 June 2017

EC Clears Creation Of €24 Billion Public Fund For Handling Radwaste In Germany

19 Jun (NucNet): The European Commission (EC) has found the transfer of about €24bn ($26.9bn) by nuclear power plant operators in Germany into a new state-run fund for handling and storing nuclear waste to be in line with EU state aid rules. 

Under legislation that came into force in December 2016, the German government assumed responsibility for the intermediate storage and final disposal of radioactive waste.

In exchange for being released from these liabilities, Germany’s four largest utilities – E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall – had to provide the government with a cash payment of about €24bn.The money had previously been set aside by the utilities in special provisions for managing nuclear waste from operation and decommissioning.

In a statement on 16 June 2017, the EC said Germany's decision to take over the radioactive waste management liabilities involved state aid under EU rules. However, according to the EC, state aid is “proportionate to the objective”, because the proposed support scheme does not exceed what is necessary to achieve the government’s goals and distortions to competition remain “limited”.

The EC said the main objective of the state aid measure is to secure the necessary funds for radioactive waste management in public hands and to protect these funds from any changes in the financial situation of the nuclear operators.

The EC also said that Germany regards the measures as necessary, because it guards against a situation where potential financial difficulties for nuclear operators might have forced it to cover the full cost of radioactive waste management.

Germany is closing its last nuclear plants in 2022 after a political decision to phase out nuclear energy was made following the Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan in 2011.

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