Bavaria challenges German nuclear closure

Pro-nuclear state alleges phase-out would contravene federal constitution, Euratom treaty

The German state of Bavaria has escalated its campaign against the federal government's plan to phase out nuclear power, alleging that it would breach both the national constitution and European law. The state government has called on the European Commission to intervene and has also asked Germany's administrative court to rule on the plan's constitutional status.

Bavaria, which is governed by the right-wing CSU party, has consistently objected to the federal Red/Green government's nuclear closure policy. Some 70% of the state's electricity is nuclear-generated, compared with the national average of 30% (ENDS Daily 5 January 1999).

According to the state authorities, a government-imposed phase-out would breach Germany's constitution and would be anti-competitive. It further claims that the move would conflict with the 1957 Euratom treaty, to which all EU states are signatories. This requires the use of nuclear power to be supported and not hindered, according to a Bavarian environment ministry spokesperson.

The CSU, which governed in coalition with the centre-right CDU party until the Red/Green coalition's election victory in 1997, argues that phasing out nuclear power would severely compromise Germany's ability to meet its international commitments to reduce greenhouse gases. "Without nuclear power our carbon dioxide emissions will go up," the ministry spokesperson told ENDS Daily.

Follow Up:
Bavarian environment ministry, tel: +49 89 92 14 33 75.

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