• Germany's news in English
 
German banks break non-nuclear promises
People in Rostock this weekend marked Fukushima's second anniversary. Photo: DPA

German banks break non-nuclear promises

Published: 12 Mar 2013 12:48 GMT+01:00

The Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper said on Tuesday that the earthquake-triggered meltdown in Fukushima prompted not only the German government's hasty change of heart about closing down all nuclear power stations, but also promises from banks to stop investing in such projects.

Germany's biggest bank, Deutsche Bank, said it was going to initially stop all loans which would be used in nuclear projects, while the Hypo-Vereinsbank (HVB) was clear when it said it would "no longer give credit to companies which do not address the issue of the environment." This included new nuclear power stations overseas.

Yet two years later, environmental group Urgewald has checked the promises made while the Fukushima plant was in meltdown. Although some banks have discontinued all business with uranium mines and nuclear power stations, others have done practically nothing, the Frankfurter Rundschau said.

The HVB and Deutsche Bank in particular were singled out for criticism. The group Urgewald checked the financing of the three most important uranium firms, Areva, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, which between them cover a third of the global market. Areva is also one of the leading nuclear power station constructors.

The group also asked the association of the eight biggest German banks about their protocols for granting credit.

Commerzbank and BayernLB exited nuclear business

Commerzbank and BayernLB have completely exited the nuclear power business, the result showed. "Fukushima showed that nuclear power is a high-risk technology with consequences that barely be calculated," said BayernLB in a report. "Thus the bank will not fund any new projects to construct new nuclear power stations or for the mining of nuclear fuel."

Commerzbank said it "did not finance nuclear power stations or uranium mines on principle." The Deka-bank said it had never done so.

But the other large banks had changed little, the group said.

The Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) has funded many nuclear companies, the Frankfurter Rundschau said - and has to this day not adopted special criteria for the nuclear sector. And while Deutsche Bank said it checked each individual case for security, also had no specific nuclear criteria. The HVB said it had standards which were based on the rules of international organisations, but would not say what these were.

Four of the eight big German banks - Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HVB and LBBW - continued to fund energy companies, the Frankfurter Rundschau said. And although all stress that they support renewable energy, they have no idea what is done with the money they put into the energy firms, the paper said.

Deutsche Bank and HVB invest in uranium mines

And despite the well-known catastrophic effects on public health and the environment associated with uranium mines in Africa and Eastern Europe, Urgewald said that Deutsche Bank put more than €1.1 billion into mining firms Areva and Rio Tinto between March 2011 and January 2013.

HVB put more than €944 million into Areva and BHP, the group said, although the bank would not comment on reports that its managers had given explicit guarantees worth €500 million to Areva for the expansion of the accident-hit Czech nuclear power station Temelin - just on the border with Germany.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:47 March 12, 2013 by whiteriver
".. for the expansion of the accident-hit Czech nuclear power station Temelin.."

English is not my native language, but does this sentece implies that Temelin had an accident? Then, could you please give the sources of this accident?
15:08 March 12, 2013 by raandy
yes it does, but because there is little other info i would assume there was no radiation leak.

The banks are very aware that nuclear power is not going away, only in Germany, but Germany will still be purchasing nuke power from outside its borders. Banks were not mandated to stop lending to nuclear power.
Today's headlines
Germany warns Greece over reforms as left rises
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has said he expects Greece to honour its debts. Photo: DPA

Germany warns Greece over reforms as left rises

Germany's finance minister has warned Greece that any new government must respect commitments made by its predecessor, as the country moved closer to early elections that EU officials fear would be won by a radical leftist party. READ  

LG offices raided over suspected vandalism
A Sumsung washing machine. Photo: DPA

LG offices raided over suspected vandalism

South Korean prosecutors raided the Seoul headquarters of LG Electronics on Friday following allegations that the firm's executives vandalised their rival Samsung's washing machines at a trade fair in Germany, company officials said. READ  

Neuer cautious over Ballon d'Or prospects
Photo: DPA

Neuer cautious over Ballon d'Or prospects

Germany's World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on Friday played down his prospects of securing the World Player of the Year award over holder Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. READ  

News Feature
No Boxing Day football tradition for Germans
Germans football fans will have nothing to watch this Boxing Day Photo: DPA

No Boxing Day football tradition for Germans

Defying national stereotypes, it is British footballers who will be braving the freezing cold to take to the pitch on Boxing Day, whilst Germany's players are already sunning themselves on their winter break until the end of January. READ  

Germans hit back at anti-immigrant movement
Demonstrators protest against PEGIDA. Photo: DPA

Germans hit back at anti-immigrant movement

Business leaders, the political class and average Germans are pushing back against a growing anti-immigrant movement, saying it threatens the values and image the country fought hard to establish since the war. READ  

German president urges refugee compassion
Photo: DPA

German president urges refugee compassion

Germany's president appealed in a Christmas message for compassion and openness towards refugees coming to the country, which is grappling with a growing anti-Islam movement. READ  

Reward offered for €150k homing pigeon
A female homing pigeon. Photo: DPA

Reward offered for €150k homing pigeon

A breeder in Düsseldorf has offered a €10,000 reward after thieves stole a homing pigeon worth €150,000 from his aviary. READ  

Royal palace restored to glory after €4.5m refit
The vestibule of the Schloss Charlottenburg, which reopens on Boxing Day Photo: DPA

Royal palace restored to glory after €4.5m refit

The royal palace of Fredrick the Great in Berlin is to fully reopen to visitors on Boxing Day after a 4.5 million euro refit. READ  

Bertolt Brecht statue hit with potato salad
Bertolt Brecht and his salad. Photo: DPA

Bertolt Brecht statue hit with potato salad

Bertolt Brecht's statue in front of the Berliner Ensemble theatre was splattered with potato salad by pranksters early on Tuesday morning, in a protest against supposed gentrification of the capital by wealthy southerners. READ  

'Cursed' Christmas Market catches fire
The ferris wheel at Alexa Christmas Market where a man fell to his death last week Photo: DPA

'Cursed' Christmas Market catches fire

A blaze at one of Berlin's biggest Christmas markets has caused locals to wonder if the place is cursed. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,089
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd