Chancellery Invites to Nuclear Energy Talks

The German Chancellery has invited board members of the four major utilities E.ON AG, RWE AG, Vattenfall Europe AG and EnBW AG for 21 January 2010 to discuss nuclear energy issues.

The Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the Ministry of Economics and Technology will be represented by state secretaries.

The extension of the life-span of nuclear power plants shall only be an indirect topic. The agenda includes safety requirements and the controversial issue of the possible final disposal sites Schacht Konrad and Gorleben as well as a possible transfer of so-called residual generation quantities (Reststrommengen). These residual generation quantities had been agreed in the 2001 “atomic consensus” (Atomkonsens) and formed part of the 2002 “exit amendment” (Ausstiegsnovelle) of the Atomic Energy Act (AtG).  After the residual generation quantity for the individual plant will have been generated, the operation permit for the plant shall in principle expire. In special cases, the Atomic Energy Act allows for the transfer of certain residual generation quantities from one nuclear plant to another.

The nuclear power producers had asked for a meeting since two plants will reach the limits of the residual generation quantities allocated to them. As a consequence, they would have to be disconnected from the grid. Since a conceivable amendment of the Atomic Energy Act does not seem likely until that date, a shut down can only be avoided if generation capacity can be transferred from new nuclear power plants to older power plants.

The transfer of residual generation quantities had been the subject of earlier controversial political discussions and legal disputes. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety under its previous environmental minister Sigmar Gabriel had prevailed with a restrictive interpretation of the transfer provisions of the Atomic Energy Act.

Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 13 January 2010, page 9