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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Friday it had approved Germany's plan to create a public fund to deal with radioactive waste.
Germany intends to take over the liabilities relating to management of radioactive waste and spent fuel from nuclear power plant operators. They would have to pay in about 24.1 billion euros ($26.9 billion).
This is made up of a basic amount equivalent to the provisions already set aside by the operators for this purpose and a risk premium aimed at covering the risk of cost increases in the future.
The Commission concluded that the move did involve state aid because of uncertainties over the cost of a repository for waste and the possibility of cost overruns. Germany regards the measure as necessary as it seeks to phase out nuclear energy production by 2022.
Without the measure, Germany could have faced a situation in which financial difficulties of operators forced it to take on the full cost of waste management.
"The Commission has concluded that the support granted does not exceed what is necessary to achieve this objective and that the competition distortions created by it are limited," the Commission said in a statement.
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Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop