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Germany top court rules nuclear fuel tax illegal

[JURIST] Germany's Federal Constitutional Court [official website, in German] ruled [judgment, in German] on Wednesday that a tax on nuclear fuel was illegal. The tax, implemented in January 2011, charged [World Nuclear News report] nuclear power plants €145 per gram of fissile nuclear fuel loaded in a power plant. The court ruled that the tax did not fit within the types of excise duty allowed by the Basic Law. When the tax was initially enacted, in included a provision that allowed for the extended operation of the country's nuclear power plants. However, after the 2011 Fukushima accident, Germany removed the extended operation provision, closed some older units early, but kept the tax in place. With the court ruling, the German utilities may be reimbursed the €6.3 billion (USD $7.1 billion) the utilities paid for the tax between 2011 and 2016. The European Court of Justice ruled in June 2015 that the tax did not violate EU laws.

The role of nuclear power plants in countries throughout the world have been a significant focus since the Fukushima accident. Voters in Switzerland voted [JURIST report] in May to phase out nuclear power in the country. This vote came just six months after a previous Switzerland resolution that voters rejected [JURIST report] that called for the phase out of nuclear power in the country. In the US, Ohio lawmakers introduced a bill in April to give nuclear power plants Zero Emission Credits, and a lawsuit was filed [JURIST reports] in Illinois in February against a recently enacted law that gave Zero Emission Credits to nuclear power plants in the state. A Japanese court ruled [JURIST report] in December 2015 to allow the restart of two nuclear power plants in the Fukui district.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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