The German cabinet yesterday adopted a draft bill on financing the decommissioning of the country’s nuclear power plants and management of its radioactive waste. The bill is based on the recommendation of an independent commission reviewing the financing of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.
Following the Fukushima accident in March 2011, the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the withdrawal of the operating licences of eight German nuclear power plants and revived plans to phase out nuclear power by 2022.
An independent commission – the Kommission zur Überprüfung des Kernenergieausstiegs (KFK) – was set up in October 2015 by the German government. Its mandate is to develop recommendations for action, such as ensuring the financing of the decommissioning of the country’s reactors and the disposal of radioactive waste can be secured so that the utilities involved are financially able in the long term to fulfil their obligations in the nuclear area.
Under the draft bill, the reactor owners involved – EnBW, EOn, RWE and Vattenfall – will pay some €23.6 billion ($25.9 billion) into a state-owned fund for decommissioning of the plants and managing radioactive waste. The amount includes a 35.5% risk premium which exempts them from having to make any additional contributions to the fund.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said the aim is for the bill to enter into force on 31 December.
Energy minister Sigmar Gabriel said the legislation “clarifies responsibility for nuclear waste. It ensures the long-term financing for decommissioning, dismantling and disposal without the transfer of costs to society or jeopardizing the economic situation of operators.”