German court paves way for nuclear compensation claims

Germany's highest court has opened the way for compensation claims from electricity companies over the government's abrupt decision in 2011 to shut down several nuclear reactors and accelerate the closure of the rest.

Three power companies went to the Federal Constitutional Court to argue that the decision following Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, which came months after Chancellor Angela Merkel's government had extended the reactors' lifespan, constituted expropriation.

The court rejected that claim Tuesday, but found that the operators were entitled to "appropriate" compensation given that the government didn't foresee recompense for planned investments or guarantee how much electricity plants can still generate.

The government decided to shut down eight of the country's 17 nuclear reactors immediately and phase out the rest by the end of 2022.