| BRUSSELS/LONDON, July 19
BRUSSELS/LONDON, July 19 Germany on Friday
rebuffed draft plans by the European Commission to allow
European Union member states to directly subsidise nuclear
Several European governments, such as Britain and France,
plan to build new nuclear power stations, but many companies are
shying away from investing in the expensive technology without
the safeguard of government support.
The Commission's draft, seen by Reuters and titled "Paper of
the Commission Services containing draft guidelines on
environmental and energy aid for 2O14-2O20", proposes to allow
governments to provide direct state aid for nuclear power.
The paper says that aid may be compatible with EU rules and
that "these guidelines apply to state aid for environmental
protection, including CO2 capture, transport and storage (CCS),
energy infrastructure, capacity mechanisms and nuclear energy".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she opposed nuclear
"Germany voted against (nuclear plants getting subsidies)
and I support that," Merkel told a news conference in Berlin,
when asked about the draft.
Following the nuclear reactor meltdown at Japan's Fukushima
plant in March 2011, the German government passed a law to speed
up its nuclear exit policy, a move that enjoys broad support
from the country's public.
Germany spends large amounts of cash in state subsidies
aimed at boosting the country's renewable power generation.
The government in Berlin is concerned that these renewable
subsidies would lose their intended impact if other energy
technologies, such as nuclear power, are also supported by
The Commission's draft says that "pursuing the development
of nuclear energy, in particular by facilitating investment in
nuclear energy, is an objective covered under Article 2(c) of
the Euratom Treaty."
It also says that aid to nuclear energy could be related to
decommissioning, the treatment, management and disposal of
Although the Commission did not officially back the
proposal, it said that as the European authority in charge of
state aid control, it was obliged to examine proposals for
subsidies, including nuclear power.
"This document was not endorsed by the Commission, but is a
preparation document for a public consultation," European
Commission spokesman for competition policy Antoine Colombani
said in Brussels.
"The European Commission does not wish in any way to
encourage subsidies to nuclear power... However, it appears that
some member states do wish to subsidise nuclear power, and the
Commission is in charge of state aid control, so whenever a
member state notifies a measure we are obliged to examine it,"
(Additional reporting by Annika Breidhardt in Berlin; editing
by Keiron Henderson)