A recent report from investment research firm Dresdner, Kleinwort, Wasserstein has found that European nuclear generators, notably in Germany, have been too conservative in their estimates for decommissioning liabilities under their accounting practices.

Not only do Germany’s four nuclear generators considerably over state decommissioning liabilities, but it has also been suggested that the accounting methods used are designed to maximise tax deductions.

Under existing German tax rules, reserves declared as set aside for future decommissioning liabilities are tax exempt, a condition that is being currently challenged in the European Court of Justice. The four nuclear generators in the German market E.On, RWE, Vattenfall, and EnBW have reserves of up to €30 billion for decommissioning.