Siemens could pull out of Areva nuclear venture

German engineering group Siemens plans to sell its stake in Areva NP, the reactor subsidiary of French nuclear power giant Areva, a source close to the matter told AFP.

Siemens could pull out of Areva nuclear venture
Photo: DPA

Siemens currently holds a 34-percent stake in Areva NP, estimated to be worth €2 billion ($2.6 billion) A source close to the matter said the decision to pull out was not for “political” reasons.

A Siemens spokesman declined to comment on the matter but added that the company’s supervisory board would meet on Monday to discuss the issue. A spokeswoman for Areva too refused to comment, except to say the company would buy the 34 percent stake if Siemens decided to sell it. Areva would have three years to do so, she said.

A 2001 shareholders’ agreement which governs Areva NP gives Siemens an option to sell its shares to Areva which specializes in the design and construction of nuclear power plants as well as fuel supply and maintenance.

According to French business daily Les Echos, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called her French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss the deal. Sarkozy has made no bones about the fact that he wants Areva to buy the stake in the joint venture with the aim of creating a French national champion based on Areva, engineering group Alstom and construction group Bouygues.

Areva Siemens started in the nuclear power industry in 1980 when it worked together with French group Framatome to develop a third generation nuclear reactor (EPR). In 2001, Siemens and Areva grouped their nuclear activities from France, Germany and the United States into one company, Areva NP.

The German government has approved plans to mothball the last of its 17 nuclear reactors by about 2020. Polls show a majority of people in Western Europe’s most populous country oppose nuclear power.


German households to receive relief for gas costs ‘starting in January’

To help German residents with skyrocketing energy costs, the government is planning to provide relief starting in January, according to draft legislation.

German households to receive relief for gas costs 'starting in January'

Through the gas price cap, the so-called Gaspreisbremse, both German residents and companies will receive retrospective relief for their gas costs starting in January 2023, according to the draft. 

Previously the relief payments were set to stretch between March 2023 and spring 2024, with 25,000 larger businesses, as well as almost 2,000 hospitals and schools to receive the help starting in January. 

READ ALSO: How much could households save under Germany’s new price cap?

The German government is reacting to the sharp rise in energy prices with energy price brakes worth billions and wants to soften the blow on both private households and companies. 

Germany will also be divvying out a one-off energy relief payment in December.

READ ALSO: When will people in Germany get their December gas bill payment?

How much will households and businesses receive?

Under the gas price cap, households and small and medium-sized enterprises are to receive a guaranteed gas gross price of 12 cents per kilowatt hour for 80 percent of their current consumption. For the remaining 20 percent of consumption, the contract price is set to apply.

For district heating, the guaranteed gross price is to be capped at 9.5 cents. 

Starting in January, a gas price brake is also planned for industry. These large consumers are to receive a guaranteed price of 7 cents per kilowatt hour net for 70 percent of their previous consumption volume.

The largest part of the energy price brake is to be financed by a “defence umbrella”, or special reserve, totalling up to €200 billion. The government is still taking on new debt in order to finance the energy caps. 

Russia’s war against Ukraine has increasingly aggravated the situation on the energy markets in Germany and Europe in the course of 2022, the draft states. 

In particular, the recent large price increases for natural gas and heat represent a “considerable, in some cases existence-threatening burden for residents and companies in Germany,” it continued. “They are an enormous socio-political and economic challenge.”


relief – (die) Entlastung

Natural gas – (das) Erdgas

Consumption – (der) Verbrauch

cushion/soften a blow – abfedern

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