staying Atomic

E.ON’s Nuclear U-Turn

Patched back together. Source: dpa
Patched back together.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Utility E.ON’s decision to keep hold of its nuclear division will hit profits.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Germany aims to phase out all nuclear energy in the country by 2022 and draw at least 80 percent of energy from renewables by 2050.
    • Utilities E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall have suffered billion euros of losses due to the energy transisition.
    • Last year, E.ON announced it would split off its conventional power plant business into a separate company, Uniper, so E.ON could focus on renewable alternatives.
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    Audio

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Energy provider E.ON reversed on Thursday its decision to split off nuclear operations from renewable energy operations, following political doubts about who would pay for shutting down and cleaning up nuclear power plants.

Economis minister Sigmar Gabriel is preparing a law to make companies liable for nuclear operations, even when these are spun off. Currently, companies are only liable for five years for operations they have divested.

“I think this is a step backwards from what they had wanted to do, but political pressure clearly got to them,” said Lawson Steel, a London-based analyst at private bank Berenberg.

“They are having to capitulate in the first place to ambassadors who said this was to create value. We never believed that,” Mr. Steel told Handelsblatt Global Edition.

Shares in E.ON, an Essen-based firm established in 2000, were the biggest decliner in the German blue chip DAX index, slumping almost 6 percent to an all-time low of €9.09 by mid morning.

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