Skimming Off of Excess Profits Imposes Significant Burden on Operators

Berlin, 15.09.2010

The Federal Government in its resolution on withdrawing the restriction to the lifetime of nuclear power plants has significantly increased the burden on nuclear power plant operators compared to earlier announcements: Extension of the nuclear fuel tax to six years and long-term skimming off of profits will considerably reduce profits. Overall, appreciably more than 50 percent of the income from the additional residual volumes of electricity will be skimmed off. The financial market also estimates the additional burden on companies as significant. Various calculations based on an appreciably lower levy are incorrect.

The costs and burdens of power plant operators amounting to around EUR 85 billion in total that will arise on converting the additional volumes to electricity are made up as follows: In addition to generating costs of approximately EUR 50 billion (source: BMWi [Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology], 2008 study), in future companies will also be burdened with the planned nuclear fuel tax amounting to EUR 13.8 billion. Further duties to the fund amounting to EUR 1.4 billion and the subsidy per MWh arising from 2017, which with a constant price level for electricity adds up to another EUR 13.5 billion, must also be added to this. Finally, the costs of upgrading also have to be taken into account and the Federal Minister for the Environment has estimated these at EUR 500 - 600 million per unit block which amounts to approximately EUR 9 billion.

In relation to the additional operating time of the German nuclear power plants, this results on average in costs of up to EUR 47 per MWh. At a price for electricity of approximately EUR 50, it becomes apparent that the burden on companies is enormous. The price for electricity would have to increase by 60 percent if, as is sometimes incorrectly maintained, the aim was to generate over EUR 50 billion profit. This assumption is unrealistic. The lifetime extension will more likely ensure that development of the price for electricity will be curbed. Moreover, the State has ensured in the relevant agreements that, even in the event that prices for electricity rise considerably, it will skim off a share that is appreciably more than 50 percent.

The current discussion completely overlooks the fact that, unlike in all other European countries, nuclear power plant operators in Germany must bear considerable additional burdens.

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