Germany top court allows damages for closed nuclear plants

Germany top court allows damages for closed nuclear plants

The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany [official website] ruled [judgment, in German; press release, in German] Tuesday that nuclear plants that were closed or scheduled to be closed as a result of a statute passed in 2011 can recover damages. The statute [statute, in German] accelerating the closing of German nuclear plants was passed in response to the nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan, and just months after the government had extended the life of the nuclear power plants. Three energy companies affected by the statute challenged it in court, alleging it was unconstitutional. The court ruled that the statute was constitutional, but that the energy companies were entitled to damages incurred as a result of the statute. The energy companies had calculated their damages to be about USD $20 billion. The court did not specify what the damages should be, but gave the government till 2018 to settle the dispute.

Germany has long tried to cut down on its dependency on nuclear power. Other European countries seems to be split on whether to try and limit the use of nuclear energy. After the Fukushima nuclear accident [JURIST news archive] in Japan however, more countries have moved to limit nuclear power. In November Switzerland voted [JURIST article] to keep using nuclear power, voting down a 45-year total phase out of nuclear power.