As Germany prepares to phase out nuclear energy, major utilities want to hand over the decommissioning of their nuclear plants to a public foundation. But the government says the firms need to accept responsibility.
German utilities are negotiating with the government to unburden themselves from having to dismantle the country's nuclear power plants, according to a report in news magazine Der Spiegel.
The four major energy companies, E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Sweden's Vattenfall, are looking to hand over ownership and control of their nuclear power plants to a public foundation effectively a "bad bank" for energy.
But the German government said there had been no talks with those companies nor had anything been decided on the issue. The Environment Ministry stressed that the energy companies that operate the nuclear power stations also had the "full responsibility" for decommissioning.
The proposed foundation would be responsible for decommissioning the plants over the next eight years and disposing of any nuclear waste. The power companies have made some 30 billion euros ($41.3 billion) available for the work.
“It would create a situation where utilities could outsource the risks to the government,” news agency Reuters quoted an unnamed source familiar with the negotiations as saying.
The plan was first reported yesterday by Der Spiegel. The German government has yet to confirm the talks.
After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan three years ago, the German government decided to get the country out of nuclear power by 2022.
cjc/ng (Reuters, dpa)