29 May - 5 June 2015
Weekly Digest
EU court rules on German nuclear fuel tax
As a condition of approving the 8- and 14-year extensions of nuclear power plant licences in Germany in 2010, the government introduced a heavy tax on nuclear fuel - €145 million per tonne of fissile material. This was said to be for funding rehabilitation at the Asse salt mine waste repository, but was seen as a discriminatory tax on the profitable operation of the country’s nuclear plants. The major utilities, E.ON, RWE and EnBW, challenged it successfully, but the case was referred to the Federal Constitutional Court and the EU Court of Justice (ECJ).  The latter has now ruled “that EU law does not preclude a duty such as the German duty on nuclear fuel." The court also said the duty on nuclear fuel did not constitute illegal state aid to non-nuclear sources. The three utilities are now awaiting the outcome of their lawsuit filed with the Federal Constitutional Court, which could still rule the tax illegal and possibly unconstitutional.
Since January 2011 the three utilities have paid €5 billion in the nuclear fuel taxes, as well as bearing much greater costs and suffering reduced revenue due to the government’s Energiewende policy U-turn in March 2011 which closed down eight reactors, curtailed the others, and distorted the energy market in favour of renewables.  This has effectively destroyed the country’s three main energy companies.  Vattenfall Europe, owned by the Swedish government, is also affected and is seeking €4.7 billion compensation through the autonomous International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, based on the Energy Charter Treaty which provides security to corporate investments against political risks.
WNN 5/6/15.  Germany
Turkish-US merger to fast-track Turkish uranium mine
Australian-based Anatolia Energy has been moving towards opening the Temrezli ISL uranium mine in Turkey on one of its several tenements. A merger with US-based Uranium Resources Inc (URI) has been announced.  URI has ISL uranium interests in Texas and New Mexico.  A pre-feasibility study completed earlier this year revealed strong economic prospects for the Temrezli project, and Anatolia has a Production Licence from the government with a view to starting in 2016.  URI will contribute experienced staff and possibly a treatment plant from Texas for Temrezli.  The Turkish government strongly supports the mine plans, as a corollary of building four large Russian nuclear reactors at Akkuyu from next year.
WNN 4/6/15.    Turkey, US mines
EdF to take over Areva’s reactor business
The French government has backed a plan for EDF to take a majority stake in Areva's reactor business as part of a revitalization of the country's nuclear power industry. Both companies are largely state-owned, Areva 87% by government.  Its two EPR reactor construction projects – in Finland and France - are well behind schedule and greatly over budget.  Areva’s loss in 2014 was €4.83 billion.  EDF will become the major shareholder in Areva NP, which will operate as a separate company.  Areva will continue as a fuel cycle company.
WNN 4/6/15.  France
Other papers significantly updated in the WNA Information Library (see WNA web site): Reactor table, Emerging countries, Proliferation case studies (re Iran), NORM

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