"Monitor" tv report, aired nationwide on December 17, 1998, proves:

It's legally possible to get out of atomic energy.

But: Schroeder wants to stay with Nukes for at least twenty more years.

Federal Chancellor Schroeder wants to show his coalition partners who decides the political guidelines: the Chancellor. Last Monday (December 14, 1998) Schroeder, accompanied by Economy Minister Mueller, met secretly for "preliminary consensus discussions" on getting out of atomic power. The Greens and their Environment Minister Trittin had to wait outside. Instead, those who had the say in the Atomic industry were there. After this meeting, Schroeder declared, "If we don't respect contractual and international legal questions, we're going to get into claims for damages, which will have to be paid either directly by the federal government, or indirectly." Under the pressure of the atom bosses, is Schroeder deliberately lying, or doesn't he really know any better?  

The "Monitor" editors showed copies of contracts between the atomic energy suppliers and the reprocessing plants (Cogema in France and British Nuclear Fuels). As a matter of fact, these don't contain any mention of damage payments. According to Monitor, all the contracts are identical on the subject of damages. On the TV screen, Monitor showed an example, a contract between Preussen Elektra, (operators of the Brokdorf reactor) and Cogema. And there, in item 14 entitled Force Majeure, one could read:

"Acts of higher authority and their consequences.

Neither of the contractual parties shall be responsible to the other for

faults or delays in the fulfillment of their obligations under this

contract because of laws or restrictions of their governments.....that are

outside the competence of the parties."

 Professor Michael Bothe (University of Frankfurt/Main) confirms that if reprocessing is legally prohibited, no claims for damages can be made by French or British reprocessors under civil law.

 Belgium has just completed negotiations for getting out of atomic energy. The operators of the Luettich atomic plant (Elektro-Bell), had to cancel their contract because the government had forbidden reprocessing. Energy Minister Jean-Pol Poncet declared: "The energy supplier was somewhat reluctant to cancel, but they realized that this was the right moment for them, because they could avoid paying damages."

 Questioned by "Monitor", Economy Minister Mueller wasn't quite as sure as he had been:  

"If there’s a Force Majeur clause in it, that would be in the case of a sudden prohibition of reprocessing, in all probability – but I’m being careful – I wonder if this high court legal language would really apply – in that case we might be able to get out without paying damages. And in the case of new contracts that will be made, in order that the reprocessing plants in Germany can be stopped, these will be in the form of international contracts. And all these I can’t invalidate simply by the passage of an autonomous law."

On the question of the so-called international contracts, Monitor found that there were two letters in the form of administrative agreements written to the French and British embassies. At no time were these letters approved by the German parliament, therefore they have no binding status under international law. Here is the letter of 1990 in translation: 

To His Excellency, Mr. Serge Baldevalz,

Ambassador of the French Republic, Bonn

 In the name of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany,


  • In consideration of the membership of both of our countries in the European Union and the obligations that they have assumed in the field of non-proliferation of atomic weapons, especially the London Rules for nuclear movements contained in the declaration of November 20, 1984, 
  • In keeping with the agreements between the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic regarding the establishment of safety measures in both countries, dated April 9, 1973 (IAEO INFCRC 193) and July 27, 1978 (IAEO INFRC 290, respectively, 
  • In regard to the joint declaration between France and Germany of (...) 1994

between the nuclear association (Cogema is named here) and the German Society for the Reprocessing of Nuclear Fuels,


Mueller, a former atomic manager, must know better, because in 1933 he was an advisor to the then Minister-President Schroeder (of the state of Lower Saxony) when the first energy consensus talks were held.


Already at that time, the Lower Saxony government ordered the subject of cancellation of reprocessing contracts to be examined by juridical experts. The team of Goessner, Groth and Siederer examined carefully the questions involved in an international contract and prepared a short Expert’s Report on the subject of cancellation in the event of quitting the use of atomic power. The sum total of their investigation: there would be no rights to damage payments. This report

was submitted to Schroeder but never made public by him. The same information was also mentioned by one of the contractors during the energy consensus talks, Mrs. Griefahn, then heading the Environment Ministry in Schroeder’s state cabinet, expressed herself on that subject: 

"in connection with the first energy consensus talks called by Minister-President Schroeder in 1993, we ordered an expert opinion to answer the questions: Are there any international law problems? Would there be rights to damage payments arising from the reprocessing? To both questions, there was a clear no! This was known to Minister-President Schroeder. He himself brought them into the energy consensus discussions, therefore this is not my private information.

Authors of the "Monitor" Report: Wilfried Prill, Ursel Sieber and Ekkehard Sieker.  

Bearbeitet am:21.12.1998 /ad

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