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Nuclear Operators in Germany threaten Government with Plants Shutdown unless Taxes Withdrawn and Life of Reactors Extended

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The Nuclear Power Sector in Germany has been thrown into chaos with the big 4 Utilities of Germany threatening to shut down the Nuclear Plants with immediate effect.The core of the controversy lies in the Government proposal to tax nuclear plants with upto $3 billion a year.This tax is being implemented on Fuel Rods of the Reactors and is supposed to help cut down Germany’s Fiscal Deficit.The Opposition strongly supports the measure and wants the administration to take a tough stance against the Nuclear Lobby.The Utilities on the other hand  not only want the taxes to go but also want the life of the Nuclear Plant extended.Under the last government supported by the Green Party,all the Nuclear Plants in Germany were supposed to close in 2022.However there have been recent proposals by the government to extend the life by 10-15 years which would yield a massive payoff for the owning utilities RWE and Eon.Nuclear Operators in Germany threaten Government to shut down Plants unless Taxes withdrawn and Life of Reactors Extended

German nuclear lobby threatens to close down power plants – DW-World

The CEOs of four energy giants have injected more controversy into an already heated debate on extending the life span of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants by threatening to shut down facilities, if Berlin goes ahead with plans for a nuclear fuel tax.

The heads of E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall reportedly told the government that if a fuel rod tax was introduced, as is currently being considered, they would pull the plug immediately on their nuclear power generators.On Monday, they also demanded that the life spans of the reactors be extended by a minimum of 15 years to make their operation worthwhile.

Germany’s center-right government under Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning to unveil a new and comprehensive national energy concept by the end of September. Beforehand, Merkel’s cabinet is slated to vote on the new fuel tax proposal on September 1. The tax would bring in an estimated 2.3 billion euros ($2.9 billion) a year.

Utilities use Common Tactics of Energy Insecurity and Job Loss

Germany has been a leader in the Green Energy area generating almost 16% of its electricity from Renewable Energy Sources.It is the largest solar energy producer and one of the biggest wind markets as well.The country is targeting to double its supply of energy from clean energy sources  to 20% by 2020 from 10% currently.Nuclear Energy currently accounts for 21% of the electricity supply and would be replaced by renewable sources by that timeframe.However utilities which have a huge amount to lose want the reactors to stay.They are using the common language of anti-Green lobbies that it would lead to Job Losses and Energy Insecurity.They don’t think that Renewable Energy can replace the cheap Nuclear Power.This is the same argument being used by the opponents of California’s AB32 Law.Like the Solar Feed in Tariff Controversy earlier in the year,this fight too promises to be an interesting one though I think the Nuclear Lobby will lose.

Merkel Takes an ‘Energy Trip’ – NYTimes

Undaunted by criticism, the nuclear energy companies have repeatedly argued that if the nuclear plants are shut in 2022, Germany’s energy security would be undermined. They have claimed that the availability of alternative sources of energy, particularly renewables that include wind and solar, would not be sufficient to make up for the loss of nuclear power.Nuclear power accounts for 11 percent of Germany’s total primary energy supply; it provides over 21 percent of electricity generation.

Jürgen Trittin, a Green leader and former environment minister, dismissed fears that Germany’s energy security would be compromised. Demand for renewable energy keeps increasing.

The nuclear companies, trying to convince a skeptical public that atomic energy is safe, claim that it is efficient and important for fighting climate change.Moreover, they say, if the plants were closed in 2022, it could lead to higher energy costs and job losses.

But analysts argue that the more Germany expands the renewable energy sector, whether for domestic consumption or exporting the equipment, the greater the potential for creating jobs.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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