German court rejects EnBW's nuclear compensation claim

06 April 2016

EnBW has had its claim for damages arising from Germany's moratorium on nuclear power thrown out by a regional court in Bonn. The court announced today that Germany's fourth biggest utility had not used immediately "all legal means available” to avert the consequences of the forced shut down of its nuclear power units.

This meant its claim could not be allowed to stand, the court decided.

In the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan, the German government ordered the three-month shutdown of the country's oldest reactors. These included EnBW's Neckarwestheim 1 and Phillipsburg 1 units, which are in the state of Baden-Würrtemberg. A few months later the government changed the temporary moratorium into a permanent shutdown for the reactors.

EnBW had sought compensation of €261 million ($296 million), citing German court decisions in 2013 and 2014 in favour of rival utility RWE, which had sued for damages of €235 million against the forced closure of its Biblis reactor immediately after the moratorium.

But in a statement signed by the court's deputy spokesman, Bastian Sczech, the court said today that, although EnBW had questioned the legality of the moratorium in an April 2011 statement, it had added in the same statement that it would not be seeking legal redress.

EOn, Germany's biggest utility, is also seeking damages, of €380 million. Like EnBW, EOn made its claim in 2014, three years after the moratorium.

EnBW announced on 24 December 2014 that it would sue its 46% owner, the state of Baden-Württemberg, as well as the German federal government, over the 'unlawful' shutdown of two of its reactors in 2011.

Announcing its decision, EnBW said it was "mindful of the statute of limitations expiring on 31 December 2014". In total, 99.6% of EnBW's shares are in state ownership.

The court said EnBW may appeal the decision within one month.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News