E.ON may run Vattenfall's two north German reactors

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FRANKFURT, Dec 15 (Reuters) - E.ON and Vattenfall are in talks that may give E.ON full management of two northern German nuclear power plants they jointly own and run, the two utilities said in a statement on Wednesday.

Both Kruemmel, a 1,402 megawatts (MW) capacity plant operated on a 50/50 basis, and 806 MW Brunsbuettel, where Vattenfall has two thirds and E.ON one third, have been offline since security glitches in the summer of 2007 grounded them.

The two companies said prospects for running the reactors had changed after the government agreed in September to extend the life of Germany's remaining 17 reactors.

The plan entails payments into a renewables fund and fuel taxes, which will reduce operating earnings, while higher safety requirements are also expected to cause additional costs.

"We want to work out sustainable solutions for the future of Kruemmel and Brunsbuettel," Ingo Luge, chairman of the E.ON group's central European marketing unit E.ON Energie, which also groups its power stations, said in the statement.

Vattenfall Stefan Dohler spoke of "new priorities" in the cooperation with E.ON.

The statement said results of the talks were expected in the first half of 2011. Maximum security and reliability was essential to consider restarting the plants, it said.

Transferring the leadership at the plants to E.ON would spell the end of nuclear production in Germany for Vattenfall Europe, the German arm of the Swedish state group, which has started reversing a decade of expansion across northern Europe and after it sold its transmission grid there.

The shutdown of the two installations has cost the company dearly and antagonised parts of its retail customer base in Berlin and Hamburg. But it retains a solid brown-coal mining and coal-to-power business in eastern Germany.

E.ON operates nine other reactors in Germany with a capacity of 10,214 MW.

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