Germany’s nuclear fund says financing of waste disposal “very likely ensured”
Rheinische Post / Die Welt
The German fund for nuclear waste management is set to make a profit in 2019, putting the long-term disposal of radioactive waste on a financially sound basis, the fund’s chief executive Anja Mikus said, according to a report by news agency dpa. Mikus said there was “a very high probability” of guaranteeing financing for Germany’s nuclear waste disposal. The 24 billion euro fund is to cover the costs of both intermediary and long-term nuclear waste storage. To do this, by 2100 the value of its assets should rise to nearly 170 billion euros, the sum an expert commission determined would be needed to cover all expenses. Mikus said around 9 billion euros would be invested in shares, bonds and real estate assets by the end of the year, with an expected return of more than 6 percent, according to the dpa article, which is carried by the Rheinische Post.
In an article for Die Welt, Karsten Seibel reports that negative interest rates at the European Central Bank (ECB) meant the fund lost 71.5 million euros in 2018, but looks set to become profitable a year earlier than expected. Still, Mikus’ announcement that German nuclear waste disposal is likely to be financially guaranteed is “going out on a limb,” Siebel writes. To reach the target figure for the end of the century, the fund would have to generate average profits of 3.7 percent per year. “Ultimately, the fund’s managers don’t have to worry about whether there’s enough money for long-term storage,” Seibel writes, “they just have to meet their profit targets.”
In 2017, Germany’s four nuclear plant operators -- E.ON, EnBW, RWE and Vattenfall -- were compelled to hand money earmarked for nuclear waste disposal over to the fund, passing all responsibility for nuclear waste management to the state. The companies are now responsible only for dismantling nuclear plants and disposing of the resulting radioactive debris. A multi-stakeholder commission has been tasked with finding a suitable location for Germany’s final nuclear repository by 2031. Germany’s last nuclear plant will be taken offline in 2022.