Vattenfall stops German green fund payments

Vattenfall, E-on, and two other energy companies will stop payments to a German environmental fund due to the German government’s plans to review its nuclear policy following Japan’s Fukushima crisis.

The energy companies Vattenfall, E-on and RWE told the AFP news agency that they have stopped their payments after the government backed away from last year’s deal to extend the life of 17 nuclear power plants.

According to the German magazine Der Spiegel a fourth company, EnBW, also decided to stop its contribution.

Together, the four companies have contributed approximately 2.7 billion kronor ($435 million) to the fund, which was created in January as compensation for the government’s decision to extend the life of the 17 plants over the duration of ten years.

The German government recently decided to review this decision in light of the natural disaster in Japan, where the nuclear power plant Fukushima crashed after an earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Under Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leadership, the government has temporarily frozen all plans to extend the lifetime of the reactors and suspended operation at the seven oldest nuclear power stations in Germany.

A spokesperson for Vattenfall’s German subsidiary told the AFP that the company will default on payments to the fund beginning this month.

A spokesperson for E-on confirmed that they have stopped their payments at least during the government’s moratorium.

The German government’s press service announced that the companies’ decisions have been noted and that it does not rule out re-negotiating with them in the future.

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