German Utilities' Reserves Adequate for Nuclear-Power Exit

German Utilities' Reserves Adequate for Nuclear-Power ExitGerman Utilities' Reserves Adequate for Nuclear-Power Exit

Operators of German nuclear power plants have set aside enough funds to pay for decommissioning the country's reactors, the Economy Ministry said on Saturday, even though stress tests showed the potential cost could far exceed their provisions.

Germany's four nuclear companies, whose shares have tumbled on uncertainty around the size of provisions made for their reactors' afterlife, said the report showed they were fully able to shoulder the cost of the nuclear exit, Reuters reported.

E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall are due to switch off their nuclear plants by a 2022 deadline set by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.

The ministry appointed auditing firm Warth & Klein Grant Thornton to subject their balance sheets to a stress test to ensure that the $44 billion (€38.3 billion) they have set aside in provisions to cover the decommissioning of reactors and the disposal of waste was adequate.

The auditing firm assessed the potential bill according to six scenarios assuming future interest rates and cost growth, and came up with a range of €25 billion to €77 billion.

Faced with low energy prices, rising competition from renewables and uncertainty ahead of the nuclear exit, German utilities have lost more than €20 billion of their market value this year.