German nuclear fuel levy ruled illegal

8 Jun 17

The German government could have to fork out billions of euros in tax rebates after the country’s constitutional court ruled that a nuclear fuel levy it imposed on energy companies was illegal.


In a stinging defeat for the government, Germany’s highest court declared the tax, levied on nuclear power operators’ use of nuclear fuel rods between 2011 and 2016, as “unconstitutional and void”.

Between 2011 and 2016, the levy saw utility companies make payments of more than €6bn, money that operators are now entitled to claim back.

According to the BBC, the country’s energy minister Barbara Hendricks described the ruling as a “colossal irritation”.

The tax required operators to pay €145 per gram of nuclear fuel every time they exchanged a rod.

Many energy companies have been hard-hit by Germany’s sudden shift away from nuclear power and fossil fuels to renewable energy.

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, the country’s lawmakers abruptly voted to exit nuclear power by 2022.

The decision left many of Germany’s energy companies with big debts and shrinking values, meaning the news they can claw back some income via yesterday’s ruling will be welcome.

Eon, one of Germany’s main operators, said it expected a €3.3bn windfall, including the rebate plus interest, with a positive impact on net income, cashflow and net debt. It, and the other companies, also saw their share prices jump in the wake of the news.


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