Court backs damage claims over German nuclear exit

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government decided after Japan's 2011 Fukushima reactor meltdowns to halt operations of Germany's eight oldest nuclear plants and to shutter the other nine by 2022A German court on Tuesday ruled that energy suppliers can claim compensation over the country’s nuclear power phaseout in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, dealing a blow to one of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s flagship policies. Judges did not agree with power plant operators that the shutdown ordered by lawmakers in 2011 amounted to an “expropriation” of their assets, but said the government should agree a deal to compensate the firms by June 2018. “It was permissible for lawmakers to take the accident in Fukushima as a prompt to speed up exiting nuclear energy to protect the health of people and the environment,” senior judge Ferdinand Kirchhof told the court in Karlsruhe.

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