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Anger rising against German government’s astonishing concessions to nuclear industry

The government is making astonishing concessions to the industry…for spending more on nuclear safety they will be able to spend less on alternative energy.

Coalition Fission – Merkel’s Nuclear Plan Encounter Mounting Opposition :: Free Internet Press, 13 Sept 10 “……The agreement Merkel reached with the utility executives last week includes substantial concessions to the industry. “Sunday was a wonderful day,” an energy industry lobbyist remarked after the meeting, which promised to result in windfall profits for the utilities in the medium and long term.

Under the new agreement, the government is guaranteeing the utilities about 1.8 trillion kilowatt hours of additional electricity from nuclear plants. Depending on the price of electricity, this corresponds to anywhere from €27 billion (about $34 billion) to €64 billion in additional revenues, according to calculations by the state-owned bank Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg. The utilities will pay higher taxes until 2016, but then they will begin reaping enormous gains.

There is no fixed end date for the use of nuclear power in Germany. Instead, power companies will be able to transfer kilowatt hours from old nuclear power plants to new ones as they see fit, thereby potentially extending the life spans of the new plants past the middle of the century.Until now, Rottgen has claimed that electricity generated by nuclear plants would only be allowed to be transferred from old plants to new ones. But this isn’t true. The preliminary agreement guarantees the utilities that an exemption clause will continue to apply, whereby, with the government’s approval, it will be possible to keep old nuclear plants connected to the grid by borrowing kilowatt hours from new plants…………

Astonishing Concessions

The government is making astonishing concessions to the industry. For instance, the utilities’ mandatory contribution to the alternative energy fund will be reduced should additional safety costs at a nuclear plant exceed €500 million. In other words, by spending more on nuclear safety they will be able to spend less on alternative energy.

The coalition also has major changes in store for Germany’s Atomic Energy Act. To expedite construction of a planned nuclear waste storage facility in Gorleben in northern Germany, the government intends to provide regulatory agencies with additional leeway. Under the new bill, which the cabinet is set to ratify on Sept. 28, “expropriation is permissible” for the construction of permanent repositories for radioactive waste and site exploration. The former SPD/Green government had eliminated the government’s ability to expropriate property owners.

It is not just the opposition that is up-in-arms over Merkel’s nuclear policies. Dissatisfaction is growing within her own party as well. Conservative environmental politicians are calling for a review of lifespan extensions once every three years. And German states are also raising objections. The CDU/FDP government in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, which has had its fair share of problems with the accident-prone Krummel nuclear plant, has complained that the federal government is unwilling to expand safeguards against plane crashes……..

More Federal Funding

The governors of other states with CDU-led governments are also voicing their demands. They want to have a say in how the promised utilities’ contributions to the alternative energy fund are distributed. “States with nuclear power plants, like Baden-Wurttemberg, should also be involved in the decisions,” says that state’s governor, Stefan Mappus.

The retrofitting of the power grid alone will cost “sums in the double-digit billions, because the modern high-voltage lines running from north to south have to be moved underground,” says Mappus. According to Mappus, the “political credibility” of the nuclear compromise will depend on “how much we do for alternative energies today.”

His counterpart in Lower Saxony, David McAllister, is demanding more federal funding as well. He says that “fair compensation is needed for the (radioactive waste) repositories in the respective regions,” that is, in Asse, Schacht Konrad and Gorleben, all of which are located in his state.

There is also trouble brewing abroad. Although European Union Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger has no say on the lifespan issue, the situation changes when additional investments are made in the nuclear plants, as required under the new nuclear deal.

“If additional, substantial investments are to be made, from investments in new safety precautions to an expansion of an existing nuclear power plant, notification of the E.U. Commission is required,” says Oettinger. This means that Brussels still has the power to confound Berlin’s timetable.

Free Internet Press :: Coalition Fission – Merkel’s Nuclear Plan Encounter Mounting Opposition :: Uncensored News For Real People

September 15, 2010 - Posted by | Germany, politics | , , , , ,

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