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Energy firms plan legal attack on nuke phaseout

The Local · 19 Jun 2011, 14:07

Published: 19 Jun 2011 14:07 GMT+02:00

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According to a report in news magazine Der Spiegel, the energy companies have hired top law firms to prepare their case, including Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Clifford Chance and Gleiss Lutz.

A document drawn up by Gleiss Lutz says the energy companies own the surplus electricity generated by their nuclear power stations, which is therefore protected by property law in the German constitution.

The lawyers say the government has failed to supply "stringent reasons" for their new phaseout plan, drawn up over the past three months, and that the energy companies are therefore entitled to compensation – amounting to several billion euros.

If a deal is not struck with the government, the Swedish firm Vattenfall is even threatening to take a case to international courts over their nuclear reactor Krümmel, which was shut down permanently in mid-March.

The companies are also planning to challenge the government's tax on nuclear fuel.

Horst Seehofer, head of the Christian Social Union, dismissed the legal challenges as hopeless. "We are not going to make a deal. Our actions are legally flawless and politically independent," he told the Financial Times Deutschland.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet signed a package of bills this month that foresee Europe's biggest economy being nuclear-free by 2022 - earlier than previously envisaged.

Germany's nine reactors currently on line are due to be turned off between 2015 and 2022.

Story continues below…

The seven oldest reactors were taken off-line after Japan's massive March 11 earthquake and a tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing reactors to overheat and radiation to be released.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:30 June 19, 2011 by 9900lawre
"A document drawn up by Gleiss Lutz says the energy companies own the surplus electricity generated by their nuclear power stations, which is therefore protected by property law in the German constitution." ???

No Nuclear power stations = No Surplus energy = No ownership ?yes or no?

Surely the same contracts can exist with alternative power solutions. If Germany can match current surplus energy with alternative power then the lawyers and international courts literaly wont have a case or argument!
14:37 June 19, 2011 by auniquecorn
YEAAAAA, a new "massive compensation " tax
16:57 June 19, 2011 by neunElf
Yes, go ahead and expropriate the assets of private business.

How many businesses will want to establish or expand in Germany with the specter of a capricious government running roughshod over the rule of law?
19:17 June 19, 2011 by Shh Kebab
It seems this decision was a bit of over-reaction by the Government. When was the last time Germany suffered a tsunami or an earthquake? This decision would surely be a set back to any CO2 emission cut targets that may of been set.
19:30 June 19, 2011 by Loth
Won't getting rid of these power stations make Europe more reliant on Russia for Natural gas and oil? Coal could be imported too. I am not a fan of Nuclear Energy because of the waste products and accidents that can happen. I don't understand why everyone can't have a few solar panels to cut use. Everybody in every country. Rent to own or something?
01:43 June 20, 2011 by german-guardian
The decision about the nuclear phase out is irreversible, so those companies are waisting their time.
11:37 June 20, 2011 by michael4096
"The decision about the nuclear phase out is irreversible..."

Last year's decision to broaden nuclear power was also irreversible...
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