BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet approved a draft law on Wednesday that adopted recommendations requiring Germany's utilities to pay 23.3 billion euros ($25.98 billion) into a state fund to cover the costs of storing nuclear waste, government sources said.
The new law will also close a loophole to ensure that if companies split up, they will still remain liable towards the newly established state fund, the sources said.
A 19-member commission recommended in late April that Germany's "big four" power firms - E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall - pay a total 23.3 billion euros ($26 billion) to remove unwanted long-term liability for the storage of nuclear waste.
The legacy costs stem from Germany's decision to end nuclear power by 2022 following Japan's Fukushima disaster five years ago.
($1 = 0.8967 euros)
Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Paul Carrel