GDF Suez to appeal 2009 nuclear levy
BRUSSELS Dec 31 (Reuters) - French utilities group GDF Suez (GSZ.PA) plans to ask Belgium's top court to annul the Belgian government's 2009 levy on nuclear power station operators in the country.
The group said in a statement on Thursday that it had just paid its contribution of 213 million euros ($305.5 million), part of a 250 million euro payment demanded from all nuclear operators in Belgium for 2009.
GDF Suez, which operates as Electrabel in Belgium, said it considered the principle of such a contribution "contestable" and "discriminatory" because it just hit the nuclear power producers in Belgium.
GDF Suez agreed in October to pay Belgium over the next five years to operate nuclear power plants there for an annual contribution of 215-245 million euros.
The charges are the result of Belgium extending the lifetime of its three oldest reactors by 10 years.
However, there remains disagreement over proposed 250 million euro payments for this year and last. GDF Suez has also paid its part of an additional 250 million euros in 2009 to a renewable energy fund.
Belgium's two nuclear sites are operated by Electrabel. Rival SPE, in which EDF (EDF.PA) plans to buy Centrica's (CNA.L) 51 percent stake, has drawing rights on some 7 percent of production. ($1=.6973 Euro) (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, editing by Dave Zimmerman)
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