Nuclear tax upheld by Constitutional Court

Summary

Three electricity providers face multi-million-euro bills after the court’s ruling, aimed at reclaiming some of the profits from nuclear power stations

Companies must pay

Belgium’s nuclear tax is legal and electricity providers Electrabel, EDF Luminus and EDF Belgium must pay it, the Constitutional Court has ruled.

The tax was introduced to claw back some of the large profits made by Electrabel and EDF from nuclear power stations, the cost of which had already been written off. Since the companies were no longer contributing to the cost of the power plants, their profits increased enormously.

The companies asked the court to strike down the law introducing the nuclear tax. They claimed the €549 million bill faced by the producers for 2012 was unfair, since other players in the sector did not have to pay anything. Electrabel also complained that it was being asked to pay €480 million, while EDF had to pay only €70 million. The court rejected all these complaints.

Reacting to the judgement, Electrabel said it would “examine all alternatives” in considering the future of the company’s nuclear activities in Belgium unless the nuclear tax was changed. “This decision confirms the principle of a confiscatory and disproportionate charge which jeopardises the viability of the operational activities of Electrabel in Belgium,” the company said in a statement.

The company maintains that the tax bears no relation to the income from the nuclear plants. The bill for 2012 is equal to the company’s entire profit from nuclear generation, while the €422 million bill for 2013 is higher than the French-owned company’s entire profit from all activities in Belgium.

 

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