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RWE is an international energy and water business, with interests in Germany, the UK, Central and Eastern Europe, and the US.[1]

In the UK it owns the energy firm npower, which supplies electricity and gas to 6.2 million customers. RWE nPower has major interests in renewable energy and developed the UK's first major offshore wind farm.[2]

It previously owned Thames Water Utilities, the UK's largest water and sewage company, which it sold in October 2006 to Kemble Water, a consortium led by Australia's Macquarie Bank.[3] [4]


RWE's operating divisions:

  • RWE Power is Germany’s "biggest power producer" and generates electricity from coal, lignite, nuclear and gas-fired power stations;
  • RWE Innogy which is the renewable energy arm of RWE with interests in onshore and offshore wind farms, hydro power stations and biomass projects in Europe;
  • RWE Dea which produces gas and oil in Europe and North Africa;
  • RWE Supply & Trading which operates RWE's non-regulated gas activities and European energy trading business;
  • RWE Energy which is the sales and grid management company for customers in Continental Europe; and
  • RWE nPower which operates solely in the UK and includes the generation of from coal, gas and oil fired power stations as well as the sale of electricity and gas. [5]

RWE Nukem background

Nukem was set up in 1960 and was one of Germany's first nuclear power firms. It became a subsidiary of TESSAG Technische Systems und Services Aktiengesellschaft (Tessag) in 1999, which was later to become RWE Solutions. In 2001 Nukem bought AEA Technology's nuclear engineering arm.[6]

Nukem now offers design and build, decommissioning, land remediation, consultancy, radiation safety and nuclear support services. Its annual turnover in the UK is excess of £60 million, and £245 million worldwide. UK staff are based at permanent offices in Risley, Dounreay, Sellafield, Harwell and Winfrith.[7]

Leaks and dodgy reports

In October 2005, decommissioning work on a lab at Dounreay was stopped after routine tests on eight contractors working for Nukem suggested they had breathed in traces of plutonium. According to the local newspaper:

The lab, where reprocessing experiments were carried out on highly enriched uranium and plutonium, was shut down a year ago following a similar health scare involving 15 workers. Tests showed that some had inhaled tiny amounts of plutonium.[8]

In 1999, the reliability of an 'independent' Nukem report on the safety of nuclear waste transportation in Britain, commissioned by the government, was called into question after it emerged that the firm had close ties to BNFL, including a joint £54m contract to decommission a nuclear reactor at Sellafield. Nukem was paid £50,000 by the government to carry out a safety survey of BNFL trains carrying spent nuclear fuel. Unsurprisingly, it gave BNFL the all-clear.[9]

RWE and Greenpeace

In 2001 RWE and the environmental pressure group Greenpeace entered into a 'partnership' - backed by Tony Blair - to promote 'npower Juice', a "clean, green electricity at no extra cost to you or the planet". "Through our clean electricity, we can help people across the country make a difference," explained Andy Duff, CEO of RWE npower. "For every unit of electricity taken from the National Grid by customers of npower Juice, we will replace it with a unit of electricity from renewable sources. This will effectively offset their electricity use and help reduce the greenhouse gasses entering the atmosphere." Greenpeace, which does not benefit financially from the agreement, said that the project will lead to the creation of the North Hoyle wind farms off the coast of Wales.[10]

Who runs RWE Nukem?

RWE Nukem's website lists its senior executives.[11] As at 10 March 2005 they were:

PR and lobbying



  • Burson-Marsteller provided consultancy services for Thames Water in 2003/4 and for RWE npower and RWE Thames Water during 2005.[13] [14]

Executive Board

Corporate memberships



  1. RWE website: 'RWE - A leading European utility company', undated, accessed February 2006.
  2. RWE website: 'RWE npower business', undated, accessed 18 Jan 2010
  3. RWE website: 'RWE Thames Water', undated, accessed Jan 18 2010
  4. Mark Milner, Thames Water sold for £8bn to Australian bank Macquarie, The Guardian, Tuesday 17 October 2006 00.37 BST, acc 29 August 2012
  5. Source Watch website RWE Accessed 21/01/10
  6. A Brief History of RWE NUKEM Limited, RWE Nukem website, version placed in web archive 28 Apr 2006, accessed 18 Jan 2010
  7. A Brief History of RWE NUKEM Limited, RWE Nukem website, version placed in web archive 28 Apr 2006, accessed 18 Jan 2010
  8. Iain Grant, Inspectorate allays fears over run of mishaps at Dounreay, Press and Journal, October 19, 2005, accessed 18 Jan 2010
  9. Iain Grant, Inspectorate allays fears over run of mishaps at Dounreay, Press and Journal, October 19, 2005, accessed 18 Jan 2010
  10. npower & Greenpeace, npower website, version placed in web archive 11 Dec 2004, accessed in web archive Jan 18 2010
  11. Management Structure, RWE Nukem website, version placed in web archive 10 Mar 2005, accessed in web archive 18 Jan 2010
  12. 12.0 12.1 Association of Professional Political Consultants, APPC Register Entry for 1 Mar 2012 to 31 May 2012
  13. Association of Professional Political Consultants Burson-Marsteller UK Staff and Clients 30.11.03 to 31.05.04', Register, accessed February 2006.
  14. Association of Professional Political Consultants: Register of members and clients Dec 04-May 05 (pdf file) and Register of members and clients June-Nov 05 (pdf file)
  15. RWE website Executive BoardAccessed 21/01/10