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Economy Ministry says German utilities pass Government Atomic Cleanup Stress Test

Economy Ministry says German utilities pass Government Atomic Cleanup Stress Test

BERLIN: Utilities in Germany have enough funds to pay for the shutdown and cleanup of nuclear power plants as decommissioning moves a step closer, the Economy Ministry.

Total reserves set aside by EON SE, RWE AG, Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG, Vattenfall AB, and Stadtwerke Muenchen GmbH of 38.3 billion euros ($43.5 billion) “completely reflect the costs,” Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in an e-mailed statement.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government decided in 2011 to phase out nuclear power by 2022 in light of the Fukushima disaster. A shift to renewable energy has resulted in slumping wholesale power prices exacerbated by an economic slowdown. Shares in EON and RWE, Germany’s biggest utilities, fell the most in as much as 16 years last month on concern their provisions for decommissioning nuclear plants may prove insufficient.

Atomic plant operators said they disagree with the assumptions of some worst-case scenarios in a government-commissioned study by auditing company Warth & Klein Grant Thornton AG. The economy ministry said it doesn’t see any need for immediate action beyond a draft law that seeks to make sure the operators of Germany’s nuclear reactors can’t escape liability for the costs, as well as setting up a commission to review funding for the nation’s atomic exit. The proposed law still needs to be approved.

The cost estimates provided by the utilities exceed international reference values, the ministry said, referring to the study.