German energy firms selling newfound skills
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