Maichel said the new standards would have to take into account current safety standards of the European Union (EU) candidate countries, and are therefore likely to be much less stringent than German safety standards. In addition, "the introduction of additional supervisory and implementation competences on the part of the European Commission would furthermore blur the clear responsibilities of the member states, resulting in legal uncertainty for the operators." Maichel also saw no basis for transferring the existing waste management and decommissioning funds into external European funds. German nuclear law stipulates that reserves are set aside to cover the costs of waste management and a future repository. The country has put aside far more than any other European country into its tax-free decommissioning reserves - around Euro 31 billion. The European Commission aims to prevent such funds distorting competition in a liberalised EU electricity market by making them legally and financially segregated from generation budgets.
The German government and industry will be seeking support for its opposition to the nuclear directives from other EU members. Nucleonics Week recently reported that Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja has confirmed his country will support Germany's position.
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