The left-wing parliamentary group reacted with clear criticism to the Federal Government’s response to a small inquiry about the so-called nuclear fund’s stakes in the capital market. “Now it is official: The nuclear waste state fund is benefiting from skyrocketing rental prices and privatized hospitals,” says Left MP Victor Perli, who initiated the small inquiry.
The Fund for the Financing of Nuclear Waste Management (KENFO), also known as the “Disposal Fund” or “Atomic Fund”, is a foundation under public law with its seat in Berlin. It was built in 2017 and is intended to finance the costs for the safe disposal of radioactive waste from the commercial use of nuclear energy in Germany.
The answer to the inquiry states that KENFO is investing the 24.1 billion euros paid by the nuclear power plant operators for the interim and final storage of radioactive waste on the capital market on behalf of the federal government. It is also the first sovereign wealth fund in Germany that has committed itself to an investment policy based on the so-called ESG criteria (ESG: Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) for sustainable and socially responsible investment.
In response to the request, the fund announced that it had a stake of around 270 million euros in eight of the largest stock corporations on the German residential property market. According to Perli, this enabled dividend payments of over 4.5 million euros to be generated in 2020. The increase in value due to the price gains including dividends was over 27 percent or just under 37.5 million euros. In 2019, around 1.5 million euros in dividends and 8.4 million in returns were generated. In 2021, just over 18 million euros were newly invested in shares in these AGs. Perli criticizes: “This clearly shows the conflicts of interest that arise when the public sector wants to generate returns with shares. It cannot be that disposal costs for nuclear waste are financed through rising rents. “
According to KENFO, further investments in funds with a focus on German residential real estate are not planned. However, investments are made in European infrastructure projects in the energy and telecommunications sector. There they are currently with 16 million euros. However, despite the demand, it remains unclear in which specific investments in the area of public services of general interest there are expected returns, complains Perli.
He sees the position of the left confirmed that it was not a good idea to use a state disposal fund to transfer the cost risks for nuclear waste storage from the electricity companies to the taxpayers, thereby undermining the polluter pays principle. “If the fund only wants to invest socially and ecologically, then stocks from areas such as living, health and energy supply have no place in the portfolio,” demands the politician.