Germany’s major utility RWE intends to pay its 6.8 billion euro-contribution to a state-administered fund for financing the storage of nuclear waste without delay, raising questions about its actual financial status, Michael Bauchmüller writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. RWE last year denied its shareholders a dividend payout for the first time since the 1950s, pointing at financial difficulties resulting from Germany’s nuclear exit and low energy prices, Bauchmüller explains. “Surprisingly, RWE all of a sudden has a lot of money,” he adds. The national Commission to Review the Financing for the Phase-out of Nuclear Energy had allowed the “notoriously cash-strapped” utilities to pay their share in instalments until the end of 2022, Bauchmüller writes. In that case, they would have been responsible for any additional cost regarding nuclear waste accruing in the meantime – a risk that RWE’s new CEO Rolf-Martin Schmitz “did not want to take”, Bauchmüller writes.
For more information on Germany exiting nuclear power generation, read the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.