BERLIN, June 12 Germany's government has decided
to stop issuing credit guarantees for exports of equipment used
for nuclear power generation because the risks to public safety
are too great, the Economy Ministry said on Thursday.
The guarantees offer security to exporters and banks who do
business in emerging markets where there is a risk of
For years, critics have called for a halt to Germany's
so-called Hermes guarantees for nuclear exports, such as those
used in atomic plants in Brazil. China and India also want new
nuclear plants to help fulfil their energy needs.
"Germany has moved away from nuclear energy because it is
linked to significant, uncontrollable risks. These risks exist
in equal measure abroad," Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.
After Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Germany
decided to phase out atomic energy, Italy scrapped a planned
nuclear programme and France decided to cut atomic power to 50
percent of its electricity mix from 75 percent today.
Credit guarantees will continue to be available for the
decommissioning or tearing-down of nuclear plants as well as for
research. Guarantees already issued will not be affected.
Gabriel's Social Democrats are part of a governing coalition
with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.
The opposition Greens party has been the most vocal opposed
to the export guarantees but the SPD has also been critical. But
the SPD's coalition deal last year with Merkel's conservatives
skirted the issue.
Under Merkel's previous coalition with the pro-business Free
Democrats, some 50 million euros ($68.08 million) of export
guarantees were issued for nuclear equipment, although most were
for research projects.
($1 = 0.7345 Euros)
(Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Madeline Chambers;
Editing by Mark Heinrich)