New Greenpeace Study on Subsidies in the Nuclear Energy Sector is Unreliable

Berlin, 13.10.2010

The portrayal of subsidies for nuclear energy in the latest Greenpeace study is not consistent with the facts and is misleading. Nuclear energy in Germany is a very favourable form of electricity production which any well-known economist or management expert will not dispute.

Government funds were used in the research sector to finance the socially and politically desirable introduction of nuclear technology to Germany. Greenpeace uses misleading figures to spice up its own old studies and press releases. The facts of the matter, however, have not changed.

No subsidies have been given for the commercial use of nuclear energy in Germany. The government has not given any financial aid to any of the nuclear power plants, even the 17 plants still currently in operation. The Federal Government coalition between the SPD and the Green Party also stated this explicitly in 2002.

The whole study is unreliable. Two examples of why:

  1. Greenpeace calculates that nuclear energy is supposed to have received tax allowances on reserves amounting to EUR 68.3 billion.
    The fact is: Operators of nuclear power plants financed these reserves from their own funds in order to organise responsible and economically sensible provision for decommissioning of the plants and final disposal of the waste. The accumulation of such reserves is essential according to accounting principles relating to commercial law and is no different to other sectors.
  2. Greenpeace calculates that nuclear energy has a financial advantage arising from emissions trading of EUR 8.7 billion.
    The fact is: Electricity production from nuclear energy is very low in CO2. One really cannot reproach nuclear energy for protecting the climate and not needing any CO2 certificates. At this point, the German Atomic Forum takes Greenpeace´s indirect acknowledgement of nuclear energy´s climate-friendliness as something of a compliment.

In contrast to Greenpeace´s repeated assertions, nuclear energy in Germany, due to reliable and cost-efficient electricity production, makes an important economic contribution by providing our companies with the ability to compete and maintaining purchasing power for private households. According to a study published by the Federation of German Industry [Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie] on the economic effects of a lifetime extension, such an extension may cushion the increase in electricity prices by up to 25 percent and save private households up to EUR 144 per year in electricity costs.

Last but not least, the business and economic strength of nuclear power is expressed in the fact that, in connection with the lifetime extension, the operating companies will make financial resources amounting to EUR 20 billion available for third parties via the energy and climate fund

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