Court dismisses EnBW claim over nuclear moratorium

A logo of German power supplier EnBW Energie Baden-Wuertemberg AG is pictured at the company's headquarters in Karlsruhe, March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - A German court dismissed a 261 million euro (210 million pounds) compensation claim brought by utility EnBW EBKG.DE following a government decision to shut down two of its nuclear reactors for three months after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

German utilities have launched a series of lawsuits over the country’s nuclear policy, seeking to claim billions of euros in what they say is a case of expropriation as the industry is closed down by 2022.

A regional court in Bonn, which had signalled in February that EnBW’s lawsuit had little chance of success, said the utility failed to take steps to avert the damage for which it was now seeking compensation.

EnBW, Germany’s third largest utility, did not initially challenge the decision to close nuclear plants when it was imposed in March 2011 following the disaster in Fukushima, Japan.

Later that year, Germany decided it would phase out all seven old plants subjected to the initial three-month moratorium plus Vattenfall’s Kruemmel reactor. It also imposed an accelerated nuclear exit schedule for the remaining ones by a 2022 deadline.

The three-month shutdown affected EnBW’s Philippsburg 1 and Neckarwestheim plants. Both power plants have since been closed for good.

“A legal challenge by the plaintiff would have had a postponing effect, which could have prevented a shut-down of both power plants from March 16, 2011 and averted the subsequent damage,” the court said in a statement.

EnBW can appeal the decision within a month.

Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Christoph Steitz and Maria Sheahan; Editing by Georgina Prodhan and Keith Weir