October 4, 2015 / 8:10 PM / in 2 years

German politician says state might have to help pay for nuclear exit

BERLIN, Oct 4 (Reuters) - The economy minister of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) region told a German newspaper that the state would have to help pay for Germany’s nuclear exit if the provisions that nuclear operators have set aside were not sufficient.

Germany’s “big four” utilities E.ON, RWE , EnBW and Vattenfall have set aside more than 30 billion euros combined to cover dismantling their nuclear plants. RWE and E.ON are headquartered in NRW.

The last of Germany’s nuclear plants will be shut for good in 2022, a deadline set by the government after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.

“If, at some point, we come to the conclusion that the 38 billion euros are not sufficient, that would not be an issue for the companies to resolve,” Garrelt Duin, a Social Democrat, told regional newspaper Rheinische Post.

“They have an agreement with us about this fixed amount. If it exceeds this, then it’s also up to the state,” he said in comments due to be published on Monday. It was not clear whether he meant NRW would have to pay or the federal government.

Duin added that, as a member of a taskforce charged with finding a disposal site for nuclear waste, he knew that the companies’ provisions would probably not suffice.

“And then there will be no way around the state taking responsibility,” he said. (Reporting by Michelle Martin; editing by Susan Thomas)

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