June 1, 2016 / 8:42 AM / 2 years ago

German cabinet approves state fund for nuclear storage costs

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.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel waits for the arrival of Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, May 30, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

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

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