Nuclear Power Talks Between Chancellor Merkel and Utilities Ends Without Specific Result

Yesterday’s ninety minute meeting about an extension of the operating times of the 17 German nuclear power plants between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the heads of the four major German utilities E.ON AG, RWE AG, Vattenfall and EnBW ended without specific results.

The parties had a far-reaching exchange of views on the planned nuclear power extension that included contentious issues like the nuclear fuel elements tax the government announced it would introduce, a government spokesperson said.

The meeting took place without the presence of Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Norbert Röttgen (Christian Democratic Union – CDU) or the Minister of Economics and Technology, Rainer Brüderle (Free Democratic Party – FDP). While Mr Röttgen had previously only favoured a minor extension of nuclear power of up to eight years, Mr Brüderle was reported to prefer deciding based on the technical condition of each plant, which may result in a longer extension as preferred by the utilities. The ministries are currently in the process of developing an energy concept for Germany. It was previously announced for autumn, but may now be presented at the end of July.

RWE said the meeting was “topic oriented”. An EnBW spokesperson reported serious talks at which no decisions were taken. The nuclear power operators had stressed that a nuclear fuel elements tax had to be part of an overall agreement. Only then, the utilities could decide whether or not to take legal action. E.on said there was general agreement on the importance of nuclear power for the energy mix in Germany. However, there had been unresolved and partly contentious issues like the nuclear fuel elements tax. The utilities declined to give information as to whether further meetings had been agreed on.

In recent days, the utilities had expressed concern about the planned nuclear fuel elements tax. They had announced they would examine legal action. Minister Brüderle rejected criticism, saying the tax was linked to an extension of nuclear power. It had always been the intention of the government to skim off excess profits. If an extension was agreed and implemented, it had a positive impact on the utilities as well.

Source: Stromtipp

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