Government under pressure over phaseout

3 April 2007

German energy giant RWE is to use the next few weeks to challenge senior government figures, including chancellor Angela Merkel, over the nuclear phaseout policy, which is preventing the company from transferring unused capacity to its Biblis A nuclear plant.

The move follows a recent decision by environment minister Sigmar Gabriel to reject an application from RWE to transfer some 30TWh from its Mülheim-Kärlich facility to Biblis.

RWE contends that Gabriel has no legal grounds for the decision, but if it fails to convince Merkel, a legal challenge is expected to follow.

Meanwhile, EnBW has filed a complaint in the Baden-Württemberg administrative court against the Federal Ministry of the Environment (BMU) over the BMU's failure to decide on the transfer of electricity production rights at the Neckarwestheim plant. On 21 December 2006, EnBW's nuclear business requested the transferral of 46.9TWh production from unit 2 to unit 1 of Neckarwestheim, effectively adding around eight years to the operating lifetime of unit 1, and shortening unit 2's by five years, allowing both units to operate until 2017.

EnBW argued that, since the BMU has passed the cut off date for a decision, without giving a reason for its delay, the court should decide on the application.

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