The German cabinet has approved a draft law for the top utilities to start paying into a 23.6 billion euros nuclear waste fund next year. In return the liability for final nuclear waste storage will be shifted to the German government.
According to the draft law, Vattenfall’s share of the fund is 1.75 billion euros, including a 35.5 percent risk premium. Of the total sum, 1.3 billion euro have already been accounted for by the company.
“We welcome that the government has taken a decision,” says Stefan Dohler, head of Business Area Markets at Vattenfall.
“We will now carefully analyse the law from a technical, commercial and legal perspective. What we need is a long-term secure solution to this very important issue. Therefore we need to anchor the legal provisions in contractual agreements with the government to avoid subsequent changes. We need to secure that the agreement will be long lasting and stable,” he says.
Four co-owned Vattenfall plants
Vattenfall co-owns four nuclear power plants in Germany, including Krümmel and Brunsbüttel which it also operates. These lost their production license in 2011 as the German government decided to abandon nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster the same year. The country’s remaining nuclear power plants are to be shut down by 2022 at the latest.
According to the draft law Vattenfall and the other utilities will remain responsible for dismantling of the nuclear power plants.
The utilities are supposed to transfer the money to the nuclear waste fund seven months after the law is enforced, either in one lump sum or several instalments over the next ten years.
High interest rate on deferred payment
“We have not decided yet in what pace we will pay our liabilities, however the interest at 4.58 percent, charged on a deferred payment seems very unattractive,” says Stefan Dohler.
According to Reuters, the share for RWE and E.ON is 16.7 billion euro.
The German nuclear waste law needs to be approved by the parliament before it comes into force, which is expected in the beginning of 2017.
The proposal for a nuclear waste law is not connected to Vattenfall’s ongoing case against the German state with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington.