Waste funds under scrutiny

3 July 2003

Nuclear utilities' back-end funds will be scrutinised by the European Commission's competition unit in case of suspected misuse.

Billions of euros of tax-free reserves ­ mainly in France and Germany ­ have been formally earmarked for future decommissioning and dismantling expenditures, but utilities in other countries have claimed that these funds are being used to buy up market assets.

The Commission noted "the importance of ensuring that funds established for the purpose of decommissioning and waste management activities, which relate to the objectives of the Euratom Treaty, are managed in a transparent way, and used only for the said purpose". It said it wopuld publish an annual report on the use of decommissioning and waste management funds.

Three European Union bodies, the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council have agreed on a tripartite declaration stating that funds earmarked for nuclear power plant decommissioning are not to be used for another purpose, including buying competitors abroad.

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