Shareholder payouts meant gov't had to push €100 mil. into breaking down nuclear plant
The Dutch government has to push 100 million euros into the dismantling of the nuclear power plant in Dodewaard because the owner paid so much dividends to its shareholders - energy companies Vattenfall, EPZ, Uniper, and Engie - that it doesn’t have enough money left to break down the nuclear reactor. Het Financieele Dagblad reported this after analyzing the annual accounts of the Netherlands Electricity Administration Office (NEA), which owns the Joint Nuclear Power Plant of the Netherlands (GKN) - the owner of the nuclear plant in Dodewaard.
According to FD, NEA paid 1.5 billion euros in dividends to its shareholders, the four large energy companies, between 2002 and 2010.
The nuclear power station in Dodewaard operated between 1969 and 1997, but it will only be demolished in 2045 to reduce the chance of dangerous situations due to radioactivity. The demolition is estimated to cost about 270 million euros. But the NEA and GKN only have about 162 million euros in cash left.
To ensure the demolition of the nuclear plant can happen, the Cabinet has now decided to take over ownership of the Dodewaard plant, State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen (Infrastructure) recently told parliament. The government will receive the 162 million euros currently in the plant and add at least 100 million euros for the decommissioning. That amount may increase depending on how the situation changes in the next two decades.
The government previously reprimanded the energy companies for paying the dividend, FD reports based on a ruling by the court of Gelderland in 2017. The State argued that Vattenfall, EPZ, Uniper, and Engie should have kept enough money aside for the demolition of the nuclear power plant. Several Cabinets tried to force the companies to set aside money to decommission the nuclear plant, but that proved legally impossible.
NEA stopped paying dividends to the energy companies in 2011 when a new Nuclear Energy Act took effect, which legally obliged companies to reserve money for the demolition of nuclear power plants.