April 19. 2024. 9:05

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Nuclear critics kicked off state-owned Vattenfall’s board


The Swedish government nominated three new members to Vattenfall’s board on Monday, putting two former board members critical of nuclear power out of a job as the centre-right Swedish government vows to ramp up the country’s nuclear capacity.

The Swedish Enterprise and Innovation Ministry currently owns Vattenfall but operates independently as a commercial company in the energy market.

“The government’s ambition is for Vattenfall to play an important role in ensuring that Sweden once again has a stable, robust and plannable electricity supply. The government is therefore nominating a board with three new members to strengthen the company’s conditions, equip Vattenfall as a company and take important steps towards more nuclear power,” Svantesson declared.

Renewed confidence was not given to former board members Tomas Kårberg and Viktoria Bergman. Both advocate an expansion of wind power and have expressed scepticism about investing in new nuclear power, according to Dagens Industri.

This move illustrates the will of Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s government – composed of the Moderates, Christian Democrats, and Liberals and supported by the far-right Sweden Democrats – to change course regarding energy, particularly nuclear as new investments in the sector are expected.

In the coalition agreement, the three centre-right parties and the far-right Sweden Democrats agree on the necessity to ramp up nuclear energy production.

“Vattenfall should immediately begin planning for new nuclear power at Ringhals and other suitable sites”, the coalition accord reads, adding that Vattenfall’s new governance is tasked with steering the company “in a direction towards becoming a leader in the expansion of plannable, fossil-free electricity production, including directives for the procurement of new nuclear power”.

The Swedish opposition often criticises the government’s energy and climate policy as it has increased greenhouse gas emissions over the five months it has been in power and relies primarily on building new nuclear power plants.

“If you ask them anything about climate, the only answer is to build more nuclear power plants”, MEP Pär Holmgren told EURACTIV, adding that the current government is not ready to take on such a responsibility as efficiently fighting against climate change.

The topic of nuclear energy remains a contentious issue among EU member states.

On energy, EU countries are currently split into two groups, with France and ten other member states being part of the pro-nuclear group while the other group of ten member states said it is more inclined towards shifting renewable energy sources.

(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)