Second quarter of 2001
German Government and Utilities Sign Phase-Out Plan
WISE-Paris, 14 June 2001
One year after the phase out plan was originally issued, the German
Government and the four main electricity utilities finally signed the
document on 11 June 2001. Two days after the signature there was still
confusion at the press departments of Chancellery, Environment Ministry
and utilities, contacted by Plutonium Investigation, over
the question whether the text was identical with the document dated
14 June 2000 (see 'Decision
to end reprocessing in Germany but action delayed'). The spokesperson
of Environment Minister Trittin explicitly confirmed that there were
no changes to the text.
The plan has now been transcribed into a bill that
is expected to be presented to Parliament within weeks. The key points
are the limitation of the electricity generation per plant however,
a production "credit" can be transferred from one reactor
to the other the prohibition of the construction of new nuclear
reactors and reprocessing plants, the prohibition of shipments of spent
nuclear fuel to reprocessing plants as of 1 July 2005 and the increase
of civil responsibility of the operator in case of accident by a factor
of 10 to 2.5 billion Euros.
Environmental groups protested against the
agreement that is considered to push an effective phase out of reprocessing
and nuclear power too far into the future. Government and utility representatives
issued various statements.
Gerhard Schröder, German Chancellor, highlighted three
points in a speech after the signature of the agreement:
"1. We have fixed a clear end for the use of nuclear energy. But
the procedure agreed upon takes into account at the same time the justified
economic interest of the electricity utilities.
"2. We have fixed a clear end for reprocessing. This means less
transports and less highly toxic plutonium. However, the direct final
storage [of spent fuel] is also economically the more sensible way.
"3. We get a fairer burden sharing in spent fuel management [Entsorgung].
The projected intermediate storage at the nuclear power plants will
significantly reduce the transports. In particular the intermediate
storage sites in Gorleben and Ahaus will profit therefrom."
Jürgen Trittin, Minister of the Environment,
Nature Protection and Reactor Safety, in a letter to the members of
the Green Party, dated 11 June 2001:
"Over the next few years it is crucial to find
a solution for all the nuclear waste and that is a national solution.
Russias offer to reprocess and store [intermediate storage] the
nuclear waste from the West, is an irresponsible playing with the safety
and health of the people in Russia a country that already contains
contaminated regions of the size of [the Land] Brandenburg. And after
tomorrow it would bring about the same problem that we get back today
from La Hague and Sellafield."
The four utilities HEW, EnBW, E.ON, and RWE signed
a joint statement, which contained the following paragraph:
"The agreement is a pragmatic compromise and
therefore a success for both sides. It leaves the different ideas of
the future of nuclear energy untouched. However, the agreement cannot
replace a global energy consensus that goes beyond political party borders.
It remains the task of politics to re-establish such a consensus in
which the Länder should be integrated."
Decision to end reprocessing in Germany but action delayed
Agreement between the Federal Government and the Power Supply Companies of 14 June 2000 [Excerpt]
English translation by the German Government, 22 June 2000