Berlin (AFP)

The German government has concluded a compensation agreement to the tune of 2.4 billion euros with the energy groups harmed by the exit from nuclear energy, decided in 2011 by Chancellor Angela Merkel after the Fukushima disaster, a- he announced on Friday.

"The government will pay compensation to the tune of 2.428 billion euros" to operators EON, RWE, Vattenfall and EnBW, which operated German nuclear power plants, all of which will be closed at the end of 2022, Berlin said in a statement.

Ten years after Germany's historic decision to leave the atom, this agreement aims to definitively settle the issue of compensation for energy producers affected by the gradual shutdowns of all reactors in the country.

The four groups will receive 2.285 billion euros for "non-produced electricity", and 142.5 million euros to compensate investments made by focusing on an extended lifespan of the plants, the finance ministries said. , Environment and Economy.

According to Berlin, the companies pledged to "withdraw all pending legal proceedings and to refrain from bringing actions or appeals against the compensation scheme."

The government cites in particular the procedure launched by the Vattenfall group before a World Bank arbitral tribunal in 2014 against the nuclear phase-out.

"We welcome this agreement which puts an end to years of costly clashes," said the group on Friday, confirming the abandonment of these lawsuits.

"It's a good signal, which helps build confidence," said RWE for its part.

The compromise has "no consequence" on the timing and modalities of the release of the atom, said the German authorities.

Following the accident at the Japanese power plant in Fukushima, Chancellor Angela Merkel surprised by announcing the nuclear phase-out by the end of 2022.

A legal battle ensued between the government and the German operators of nuclear power plants, who felt aggrieved by this decision.

The Karlsruhe Constitutional Court finally ruled in 2016 against the state, requiring Berlin to compensate companies.

There are still six nuclear power plants in operation in Germany, against 17 before the announcement of the exit.

Eight of them were disconnected in 2011, after the Fukushima disaster.

As part of its policy of ecological transition of its energy sector, Germany has also decided to abandon coal by 2038.

To do this, the government signed a similar compensation agreement for producers, to the tune of 4.35 billion euros.

But the European Commission announced on Tuesday the opening of an in-depth investigation into this mechanism, in the name of European competition rules on state aid.

© 2021 AFP