Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A small victory for the nuclear corporations – FAZ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

For the tortured soul of the nuclear corporations is the judgment of the Federal constitutional court of balm. After a long series of court defeats, they have put layers of, for once, in a fundamental dispute against government interference in their business. The violations of the government against the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the plaintiff, Eon, RWE and Vattenfall, as the operator of the nuclear power plants, “quantitatively significant”, noted the First Senate, even if the judges point out that the violations concerned only the “edge areas” of the criticized Reform of the atomic energy act from the year 2011.

Andreas Mihm author: Andreas Mihm, Economics correspondent in Berlin.

there is Also a small violation of the Constitution, a break of fundamental rights. Therefore, it turns out in retrospect that the companies have appealed against the “expropriation” by the Federal government, even if you may only claim a partial success. At the time, the black-yellow Federal government had limited decided in 2011 because of the Tsunami-triggered nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, the quick shutdown of eight German nuclear power plants and the maturity of the remaining plants. 2022 should since be definitively concluded with the generation of electricity from nuclear fission in Germany.

This Deadline have reprimanded the judge. It is rather a technical Detail. Because of the definition of a binding end-date for each plant, RWE and Vattenfall are not able to provide previously contracted to produce quantities of electricity. Eon, however, can bring to the group in the year 2002 at the “first nuclear phase-out” of guaranteed volumes of electricity to the market. The judges recognize a double disadvantage for the other two competitors: first, the requirement of equality would be violated, and, secondly, you would be limited in the protection of their property rights. (The atomic energy group EnBW has as a public company, no right of action.)

expect a failure of the constitutional court judges hold the legislator: He has to compensate companies for the investments they had made to the extension of maturities in 2010, up to the abrupt reversal in the spring of the following year returns in their investments. These include expenses for fuel, which they had ordered in reliance on a long running time. Such costs must report to the state corporations until the middle of 2018.

The verdict is likely to trigger in the unsuccessful Federal government has no shock waves. Because of the compensation payments of up to 19 billion euros, will talk after this judgment no more. The far-reaching accusation, suddenly had the “expropriation of the same” forced shutdown Eon, RWE and Vattenfall had missed revenues in the tens of billions of dollars, wiped the judges off the table.

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no one knows how high the bill will be to present the nuclear corporations to the government. However, you should be, if anything, more likely in the very low single-digit billion range. The price jumps, the accomplished action of Eon and RWE on Tuesday on the stock exchange, were exaggerated in all probability. Because unclear is whether the Grand coalition is asking in anticipation of the expected bill, the corporations in the case of other open-ended questions, in addition to the Fund. So the SPD thinks nothing of the special tax on fuel at the end of the year expiry. Moreover, it is not yet finally clarified how high the Deposit of the nuclear power companies in the state-managed Fund to Finance the storage and disposal of nuclear contaminated sites fails. Whether it remains in the previously set 23.3 billion Euro?

The court has outlined a different solution. It had no flow of money, said Vice-President Ferdinand Kirchhoff. The state could also extend the running times of nuclear power plants and the operators give the possibility to compensate the damage. That would be an elegant way to limit the economic damage. And it doesn’t help also , the cost for the stabilisation of the electricity network in the millions, the billions in chess, the result of the shutdown of nuclear power plants in the South. However, it seems unreasonable that the person in charge of so much economic expertise to prevail, it is in the delicate “nuclear theme”.

The ruling represents a turning-point. The constitutional issues around the nuclear phase-out, which was not itself in doubt, should be clarified in order to conclude. The dispute over the storage of nuclear waste should be set by the Finance law within a few months. The procedure before the international arbitration court in Washington, where Vattenfall a compensation of nearly 5 billion euros, only wants to ride. The Karlsruhe verdict does not draw, however, only mark the end of the bitter legal disputes with the German nuclear phase-out, it also acts in the future: those Who exit on the atom of those to let out the carbon impact, will not come to this judgment.


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