German EnBW says will not file legal complaint over nuclear exit

Monday, July 30, 2012

German utility EnBW will not file a legal complaint at the Constitutional Court [Bundesverfassungsgericht] against the German government's nuclear exit bill, the company said Monday.

Following intensive legal consultation, the company has been advised that due to its ownership structure it may lack the right to file such a complaint, it said.

EnBW is 46.75%-owned by the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, currently governed by a coalition led by the anti-nuclear Green Party with another 46.75% owned by local municipalities and just a minute fraction of privately held shares.

"However, EnBW explicitly shares the legal opinion of E.ON, RWE and Vattenfall, according to which the 13th amendment of the Atomic Energy Act is unlikely to withstand a constitutional examination," it said in a statement.

Germany's other three operators of nuclear power plants E.ON, RWE and Vattenfall Europe have already lodged separate constitutional complaints.

E.ON and RWE are suing the government for Eur15 billion ($18 billion) in damages over the decision to abandon nuclear power, according to media reports earlier this year.

All four of Germany's nuclear power plant operators have seen profits fall sharply owing to the shutdown of their nuclear power plants.

According to the statement, EnBW remains confident the Constitutional Court will consider EnBW's economic interests in the case of a successful complaint by its competitors to ensure equal treatment and not to distort the competitive environment.

EnBW was the most dependent on nuclear energy, among Germany's four major utilities, generating more than half of its electricity from nuclear in 2010.

The government's decision to permanently halt reactors that were built before 1980 in the light of events at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant in March 2011, saw two of the company's four reactors, Neckarwestheim 1 and Philippsburg 1, closed permanently in 2011.

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