German energy companies may be told to stump up some €20 billion for power subsidies in return for plant life extension of the country’s nuclear fleet.

With elections expected in mid-September, Germany’s coalition of conservative opposition parties, the CDU and CSU, is pressing for greater use of nuclear power and comments attributed to Peter Paziorek, the environment spokesman for the CDU, indicate that about half of the additional profits gained from the extended use of nuclear energy would be invested into a government subsidy fund.

Details of the programme have not yet been set out but it has been suggested that power companies could decide among themselves how to share the costs.

Currently, all 17 nuclear power plants are to be gradually phased out by 2021.