German energy firms need to set aside more money for nuclear exit

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

German energy companies are short of as much as 30 billion euros ($34 billion) of the money they need to set aside to build a safe disposal site for nuclear waste as part of the country's exit from nuclear power, Spiegel Online reported on Monday.

E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall are due to switch off their nuclear plants by a 2022 deadline set by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.

Spiegel Online reported that the provisional findings of an auditing company appointed by the Economy Ministry were that the energy companies were as much as 30 billion euros adrift of the money they need to set aside.

Spiegel did not cite a specific source.

According to the auditors, the 39 billion euros already set aside by the energy companies for the dismantling nuclear plants are sufficient, Spiegel reported. But they are short of funds for the final disposal of nuclear waste.

The auditors have been subjecting the balance sheets of Germany's four nuclear power plant operators to a stress test to ensure their provisions are adequate.

Responding to the Spiegel report, an RWE spokesman said: "It is our understanding that there is not a final report from the expert survey. We expect that our provisions are right and appropriate. We also expect that the stress test will confirm this."

The Economy Ministry and E.ON could not immediately be reached for comment.

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