Germany may set up nuclear waste fund

Friday, April 13, 2012

The German government ill consider setting up a publicly administered fund to manage the disposal of nuclear waste from its power plants, environment minister Norbert Röttgen said following the publication of a Greenpeace report on Wednesday.

Greenpeace has called for a public fund because it fears German nuclear operators Eon, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall may go bankrupt or try to wriggle out of their obligations after 2022, when the last of Germany’s reactors are due to close.

The report recommends more transparency regarding the end-of-life provisions made for each reactor and an increase in the total amount that operators must assign to decommissioning from about €30bn to €44bn.

The operators said a publicly administered fund was unnecessary. The believe that Germany‘s existing system, which requires them to set aside certain funds for decommissioning and waste management within their own accounts, is sufficient.

Greenpeace points out that the cost of dismantling nuclear plants has exceeded expectations in other countries. A Swiss study published last year revised the cost of dismantling reactors and disposing of nuclear waste by an increase of 10%.

Earlier this year, the European Court of Auditors criticised a shortfall of €2.5bn – close to 50% – in funds provided to dismantle three plants in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia.

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