EON denies confrontation with Berlin over nuclear shutdown

17th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

German energy firm EON Thursday denied it was on a collision course with the government over the temporary shutdown of seven nuclear reactors after reports it was mulling legal action against Berlin.

"We are not on a confrontation course with the government. Legal action is currently not in the foreground," an EON spokesman told AFP.

An earlier report in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the firm was considering a lawsuit against the government after Berlin decided to close seven nuclear reactors for at least three months in light of events in Japan.

EON operates two of the reactors shut down: Isar 1 in the southern state of Bavaria and Unterweser in the northwest. Other power firms are considering similar action, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung said.

Following fears of a nuclear disaster in Japan after last week's earthquake and resulting tsunami, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Tuesday the temporary shutdown of Germany's seven oldest nuclear reactors pending a safety probe.

At least one of the reactors was set to be mothballed for good -- Neckarwestheim 1 in the southwest.

Merkel's decision has come as a bitter pill for the major energy companies in Europe's top economy, EON, RWE, Vattenfall Europe and EnBW.

Spiegel magazine has calculated that the three-month break could cost them a combined half billion euros ($700 million).

According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, EON lawyers are calling into question the legality of the forced closure, which was pushed through without a parliamentary decision.

However, the paper also cites the German environmental agency, which says the country could do without nine of the controversial reactors.

In fact, Germany will be without eight reactors for the three-month period, with seven shut down by the government and one already out of use due to technical problems.

© 2011 AFP

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