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From nuclear to solar

June 18, 2012

Germany's second-biggest energy supplier, RWE, will stop building nuclear power plants, its future CEO has announced. It will also continue moving out of all nuclear projects that it is involved in abroad.

RWE's nuclear reactor at Biblis
Image: dapd

The future boss of German utility company RWE, Peter Terium, announced on Monday the firm would no longer engage in any projects involving the construction of nuclear power plants. He said the company would scrap all relevant plans abroad under his leadership.

Terium, who will be at the helm of RWE from July 1, said new nuclear plants in Germany were out of the question anyway, as the country was on its way towards phasing out nuclear power completely by 2022.

The Essen-based utility firm lost one of its most profitable domestic plants last year in the wake of a security stress test for all nuclear plants in Germany.

RWE's change of policy had become apparent in March, when the company pulled out of a joint scheme with Britain that was to lead to the construction of six new nuclear plants in the UK for about 17 billion euros ($21.6 billion). The Horizon Nuclear Power joint venture, which was created for that purpose, is now up for sale.

Moving to where the sun is

Terium made it clear that the same resolve to steer clear of nuclear plant construction in the future also applied its former considerations to build new facilities in the Netherlands and Romania.

"The financial risks involved in building new reactors nowadays are unacceptable to the company," he said in a statement.

While intending to also keep a low profile with regard to new gas and coal-fired plants, RWE is planning to invest heavily in renewable sources of energy, in particular solar energy. The company's future CEO has set his sights on pushing business activities in southern Europe and northern Africa, encouraged by the steep drop in prices for solar panels.

hg/ncy (Reuters, dapd)