Germans move into state’s hands nuclear waste responsibility for 24 bln. euro

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The German government and the country’s nuclear plant operators signed a long-awaited contract about the funding for the final storage of nuclear waste, writes Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The contract formally ensures that utilities E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall will pay about 24 billion euros by the beginning of next month into the state fund, thereby transferring responsibility for disposing of the nuclear waste to public authorities. The companies, on the other hand, will have to ensure the safe deconstruction of phased-out nuclear facilities.

To ensure the general public does not end up with footing the bill, the government has agreed to set up a state-administered fund to finance storing radioactive waste, according to Cleanenergywire.org. Germany’s economy ministry and the country’s four nuclear power station operators – RWE, E.ON, EnBW and Vattenfall – in late June formally agreed on how the disposal and storage of nuclear waste will be funded. Both parties signed a contract that confirms how responsibility over managing the nuclear waste will be arranged. It transfers obligation for disposing of the nuclear residues to the state while the operators are in charge of decommissioning and dismantling their nuclear plants as well as of safely packaging the radioactive materials. The arrangement had previously been decided on by a large majority within the German parliament (Bundestag).

The contract also says that the four operators have to pay nearly 24 billion euros into a fund for financing the intermediate and final storage of the nuclear waste , managed by the sate. Payments have to be completed by the beginning of July and the agreement will be legally binding for both parties, guaranteeing the operators „long-term legal certainty”, according to the economy ministry.

The final bill is the combination of a basic amount of more than 17 billion euros and an additional “risk surcharge” of 35.5 percent – more than 6 billion euros – to cover the contingency that costs exceed current projections.

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