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The Thirteenth Amendment to the Atomic Energy Act is for the Most Part Compatible with the Basic Law of Germany

12.12.2016

The Thirteenth Amendment to the Atomic Energy Act is for the Most Part Compatible with the Basic Law of Germany

The provisions of the Thirteenth Act Amending the Atomic Energy Act of 31 July 2011 (Dreizehntes Gesetzes zur Änderung des Atomgesetzes ­– 13. AtG-Novelle – 13th AtG Amendment) largely constitute a determination of the content and limits of property that may reasonably be imposed and that adheres to the requirements of the protection of legitimate expectation and of the principle of equality. This is what the First Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court held in its judgement pronounced on December 6th 2016.

The 13th AtG Amendment does, however, violate the constitutionally guaranteed right to property (Art. 14 of the Basic Law, Grundgesetz – GG) to the extent that the introduction of fixed dates by which nuclear power plants in Germany must be shut down (§ 7 sec. 1a sentence 1 of the Atomic Energy Act, Atomgesetz – AtG in the version of the 13th AtG Amendment) does not ensure that the electricity output allowances allocated to each power plant by law in 2002 will be used up within the corporations concerned before the fixed shut down dates. This renders the possibilities to use the power plants protected by the guarantee of property untenable, and limits them in a way that violates equality. In contrast, the striking of the additional electricity output allowances granted for individual nuclear power plants in the Eleventh Act to Amend the Atomic Energy Act (Elftes Gesetz zur Änderung des Atomgesetzes, 11. AtG-Novelle – 11th AtG Amendment) of 8 December 2010 is compatible with the Basic Law. Yet it is incompatible with Art. 14 GG that the 13th AtG Amendment does not provide for any settlement with regard to investments made in legitimate expectation of the additional electricity output allowances granted in 2010 and that were devalued as a result of the striking of these allowances under the 13th AtG Amendment. § 7 sec. 1a sentence 1 of the Atomic Energy Act continues to be applicable for now; the legislature has until 30 June 2018 to draw up new provisions.

Source: Bundesverfassungsgericht /German Constitutional Court/

 


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