GERMAN GOVERNMENT AND ENERGY FIRMS REACH AGREEMENT ON NUCLEAR WASTE

Berlin- The German government and the four major energy companies – Vattenfall, Eon, RWE and EnBW – reached an agreement Thursday worth billions on the management of nuclear waste.

A proposal for the waste disposal pact was agreed to in principle by a government-appointed commission of experts and the companies around a year ago. It was later approved by parliament.

The proposal stipulates that the German state will take over responsibility from the energy companies for the interim storage and final disposal of the nuclear waste.

In exchange, the companies are to transfer around 23.55 billion euros (24.9 billion dollars), including a risk premium, to a state fund, which will manage the storage and disposal.

The final disposal site in Germany has yet to be found, however.

The companies are obliged to transfer the money into the fund by July 1, 2017.

The companies meanwhile are responsible for decommissioning, demolition and packaging the nuclear waste. Experts expect this alone to entail costs of up to 60 billion euros.

As part of the deal, the companies dropped several lawsuits, including claims for damages related to the expedited phase out of nuclear power stations, which Germany decided in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The last nuclear power station in Germany is set to go offline in 2022.

However, the companies will not – as the politicians had hoped – drop all pending lawsuits related to the phaseout, German press agency (dpa) learned from a source in government circles in Berlin.

A dispute about nuclear fuel tax is still pending, as is a lawsuit for damages of 4.7 billion euros by Swedish state-owned power company Vattenfall in a US arbitration court. (QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency