Ger­man energy firms sell­ing new­found skills

New Straits Times - - Business -

FRANK­FURT: Energy groups E.ON and EnBW are tear­ing down their nu­clear plants at mas­sive cost fol­low­ing Ger­many’s de­ci­sion to aban­don nu­clear power by 2022, but they are seek­ing to turn a bur­den into busi­ness by ex­port­ing their new­found dis­man­tling skills.

Ger­many is the only coun­try in the world to dump the tech­nol­ogy as a di­rect con­se­quence of Ja­pan’s Fukushima dis­as­ter in 2011, a de­ci­sion that came as a ma­jor blow to the two energy firms which owned most of Ger­many’s 17 op­er­a­tional nu­clear sta­tions.

E.ON and EnBW have al­ready shut down five plants be­tween them and must close an­other five by 2022.

Not only are they los­ing a ma­jor profit driver — a sta­tion could earn €1 mil­lion (RM4.7 mil­lion) a day — but are also fac­ing com­bined de­com­mis­sion­ing costs of around €17 bil­lion.

This tough new re­al­ity has none­the­less forced them to rapidly ac­quire ex­per­tise in the lengthy and com­plex process of dis­man­tling nu­clear plants — pre­sent­ing an un­likely but po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive busi­ness op­por­tu­nity in a world where dozens of re­ac­tors are set to be closed over the next 25 years.

“We are in­creas­ingly get­ting re­quests from coun­tries where the de­com­mis­sion­ing of nu­clear plants is an is­sue or will be­come one,” said a spokes­woman for E.ON’s PreussenElek­tra divi­sion.

The unit, which em­ploys about 650 de­com­mis­sion­ing staff, said it was see­ing par­tic­u­larly strong de­mand for its know-how in Ja­pan, where 12 re­ac­tors are set to be closed down, adding that Mit­subishi Heavy In­dus­tries was among its clients.

EnBW formed its plant de­com­mis­sion­ing divi­sion fol­low­ing the Fukushima dis­as­ter and it has about 500 staff.

More re­cently, the divi­sion launched a con­sul­tancy ser­vice aimed at pitch­ing for ex­ter­nal work, in­clud­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally.

It said it had won con­tracts with op­er­a­tors, re­search in­sti­tutes and nu­clear reg­u­la­tors in Ger­many and Europe. Reuters

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