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RWE CEO rejects keeping nuclear power plants open

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FILE PHOTO: Energy company RWE npower's new gas-fired Pembroke Power Station, the largest of its type in Europe, is seen during its completion ceremony in Pembroke September 19, 2012. The 2000MW station, which cost 1 billion pounds Sterling ($1.62 billion

DUESSELDORF (Reuters) - German utility RWE rejected on Tuesday the idea of letting nuclear power plants stay open for longer due to the fact they produce less carbon dioxide.

"We are not available for this," CEO Markus Krebber told journalists.

The German government is paying four nuclear operators - including RWE - nearly 2.6 billion euros ($3.05 billion) in compensation for forcing them to shut their nuclear plants early in response to the Fukushima disaster.

However, advocates of nuclear energy argue that it produces minimal carbon dioxide, meaning that countries like France and Britain, which operate many nuclear power plants, could achieve their climate protection goals more easily.

RWE, which used to rely heavily on nuclear power and coal, has transformed itself into one of the largest green power companies in Europe.

Krebber called for a new federal government to accelerate the pace of the shift to renewable energy by increasing targets, expanding the grid and cutting the approval procedures for wind energy plants.

Krebber, who took over as CEO at the end of April, will present his strategy in the fourth quarter, including a new dividend policy: "We are no longer a dividend stock. We are a growth stock," he said.

($1 = 0.8519 euros)

(Reporting by Tom Kaekenhoff; Writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Caroline Copley)

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