• Sweden's news in English

Vattenfall 'worst' nuclear power firm in Europe

TT/The Local/dl · 20 Jun 2011, 09:39

Published: 20 Jun 2011 09:39 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Statistics from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reveal that Vattenfall's nine nuclear reactors in Germany and Sweden have only been operating at 55 percent capacity the last two years, Sveriges Television (SVT) reports.

"It's clear that our operations haven't been satisfactory," Vattenfall CEO Øystein Løseth told SVT.

Meanwhile, Finnish company Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) had the best performance, operating at 94 percent during 2009 and 2010.

Løseth explained that part of the problem stems from Vattenfall's efforts to modernise the Forsmark and Ringshals nuclear plants in Sweden.

In addition, Vattenfall's Krümmel and Brunsbüttel reactors in Germany have been offline for nearly four years.

Swedish nuclear power expert Lars G. Larsson told SVT that Vattenfall's management had focused on the wrong priorities.

"I think that, from the leadership side, there has been too little focus on operational issues," he said, adding that market share, financial performance, and dividends appear to have received more attention.

Løseth cited a number of "unfortunate circumstances" in Germany that had resulted in a "downward spiral" for Vattenfall.

Story continues below…

Vattenfall was in the process of handing over management of the Krummel plant to Germany power company E.On when the German government announced in May it wanted to wind down the country's nuclear power operations for good by 2022.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:30 June 20, 2011 by engagebrain
And critics of window power have the cheek to complain that wind is intermittent.

Unlike wind generators, nuclear reactors are obscenely expensive to build, ao you might at least expect a decent load factor for our rmoney.
11:01 June 20, 2011 by CarlBlack

This is very different from wind power, because nuclear generators are typically offline at a scheduled time and not all of them at the same time. However the wind power shortage depends purely on weather and typically affects the whole country.

This case is apparently a failure of management, normally nuclear plants can have a much bigger load factor.
11:01 June 20, 2011 by krow
Many reasons why the bill they send to us lately was on a high side. Killing the consumers with a high bill is the other of the day from this companies.
11:16 June 20, 2011 by Decedo
LOL. My brother-in-law works at the Ringshals plant. His idol has always been Homer Simpson, now I know why, hehe.
11:31 June 20, 2011 by engagebrain

reactors tend be off line for very long periods for repairs, not always scheduled.

So there needs to be sufficient extra capacity to cover reactor problems. This pushes up the costs and increases the necessary installed capacity.

My point is that the critics of windpower always mention intermittent generation but it is rarely mentioned in the context of nuclear power. The reliance on a small number of large reactors increases the problems.
11:52 June 20, 2011 by pjtaipale

>My point is that the critics of windpower always mention

>intermittent generation but it is rarely mentioned in the context

>of nuclear power.

Yes, because with nuclear power, it's about management (which can be done well or not) but with wind power the problem is inherent and you can't really do anything to help it. When there is no widn there is no wind.

Now, why do you think Swedish plants are at the bottom of the list, while Finnish plants are at the top? Is it because Finnish engineers and plant operators are so much superior, more intelligent, more hard-working than Swedish ones? I don't believe so. It's because of the top-down incentive setting: in Finland, the management of and commitment to plants has been stable, and there has been continuous investment and renewal of production and safety facilities. In Sweden, there was 30 years ago a referendum saying that plants must be shut down, but the population did not want to give up the electric power they used (and does apparently not want to build sufficient fossil fuel plant capacity to replace it). So, because of political instability in Sweden, there is the risk that if power company invests to the plants, it may still have to shut it down for political reasons and the investment would be lost. Thus the nuclear plants have not got the long-term investment they need to improve.

Paradoxically, those who are concerned about nuclear safety and oppose the plants are thus in practice making the plants less safe and reliable than they could be.
13:25 June 20, 2011 by Grävling
I think the main problem with nuclear power, is not the generation of the power or it's management; even though these things can be brilliant or terrible.

The fact is nuclear waste is dangerous up to about 100,000 years!

Currently the waste is kept in containers, kinda like large swimming pools with metal boxes inside full of the dangerous stuff, these have to be looked after all the time and the pools need maintenance and there is always more waste.

Other than the one in north Finland "Onkalo", there are no structures in place to deal with this waste. This is proberally why the fins are so keen on nuclear, because they have a facility to deal with there waste.

And even the Finish one has problems, not because of the facility, but because the government is not structured to last 100,000 years?. So if the government changes, the information is there, but it is not forced to the surface, whole continents shift and fall, languages die the world changes, how do we tell future humans that this place can kill them?

Nuclear power is not a sustainable source of energy, purely because of it's legacy. It just a current system for private contractors to make a quick bit of money. When the CEO of those companies die, will he really be thinking about where he put that 100,000 tones of waste?

With green power there is no kick back if something fails, the point above proves that nuclear power needs so much resources to keep them on track and safe the the political will has to be there all the time. For err about 100,000 years!
14:15 June 20, 2011 by Stickeroo
With a name like Vattenfall you'd think they only have Hydro power?! Kinda misleading isn't it?
14:38 June 20, 2011 by RobinHood
I find it perversely reassuring that Vattenfall doesn't push its nukes too hard. Chernobyl and Japan were both caused by dumb decisions taken by engineers who put production targets before safety.

A Swedish engineer at a chemical company once proudly showed me a huge fiery machine he said was the last of its type in the world. "What happened to the others?" I asked. "They all blew up." He answered reassuringly.

Better live next to the "worst" nuke energy company in the world than the "best" I think. Keep on underperforming Vattenfall.
16:14 June 20, 2011 by CarlBlack
@ Grävling: "With green power there is no kick back if something fails"

Well. let's look for example at this accident at a geen hydro powerplant - 75 dead - and compare to so far 0 (!) casualties at Fukushima:


And Chinese hydro plants caused much worse things...
22:36 June 20, 2011 by Luke35711
Brilliant piece of extremely shallow journalism.

"Vattenfall 'worst' nuclear power firm in Europe". Worst in what? Decided by whom? On what criteria? Economic, energy output, safety? Where is the follow up, where are investigative journalists following up on the issue, where are the details!? We want to know, especially with regards to safety!

But, of course, this is Sweden, where the art of informing without informing has been mastered to perfection. The silly "masses" do not need to know, after all. The all-powerful technocratic elites control everything. The all-powerful technocratic elites have always everything "under control" in Sweden. They have it "under control" just like the nuclear industry had it "under control" in Japan the day before the Tsunami happened.
23:29 June 20, 2011 by Grävling
You are correct CarlBlack, people can die from all sorts of things, and yes hydropower is also not the best, esp as in China, when they have caused allot of damage by building dams.

My point is that the kickback is not 100,000 years worth of damage / problem. In our known human existence, we have not built a structure that has lasted 100,000 year. Lets take the Pyramids as an example of something old, they are about 3,500 / 5,000 ish years old, so put that next to the time it takes for nuclear waste to become safe.

Those dams in china would have fallen by then, well maybe the glacers where the water comes from would have dried up, or maybe it could be an ice age. All I know it that I will be dead in, oh maybe 60 years if I am lucky. And I know if I make a solar farm, or wind tower, these things will not have a lasting effect on the future.
Today's headlines
Meet Sweden's lonely Donald Trump voter
A Donald Trump campaign button. Photo: Rogelio V Solis/AP

The Local talks to an American Donald Trump supporter on what it is like living in progressive stronghold Sweden.

Forgotten Ingmar Bergman script to be made into a film
It's thought the script was part of an ill-fated collaboration between Bergman (left) and Federico Fellini (right). Photo: AP

Written in 1969, the script is 'up to the standard of his best', according to the Ingmar Bergman Foundation.

Sweden's consumption footprint 'among the worst'
Trucks transporting goods on a Swedish highway. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden has been criticized for its unsustainable consumption of the planet's resources in the latest edition of a major WWF study.

Video: How to be Joel Kinnaman for a day
Kinnaman with one of the camera rigs that will allow people inside his head. Photo: Tele2

The Swedish Hollywood actor will strap a camera to his head, stream it live and allow viewers to interact with him this weekend.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
How Stockholm's cold climate boosts creativity
Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

Do long, dark winters actually make Swedes more creative and more productive? We spoke to Stockholm startups to find out.

Sweden to keep record-low interest rate in 2017
Sweden's landmark negative interest rate will continue towards 2018. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The Swedish central bank said that it will take longer than expected to reach its inflation target.

Presented by Stockholm University
9 unexpected programmes at Stockholm University
Photo: Niklas Björling

Did you know Stockholm University offers 75 master's programmes taught in English? And some of them are programmes you won't find anywhere else...

Creepy clown messes with the wrong dog walker in Sweden
Not the clown in the story. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A dog helped its owner fight off a creepy clown chasing the pair in southern Sweden.

A million Swedes are digitally excluded: report
How should Sweden bridge the digital divide? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Tech-savvy Swedes? Perhaps not. A new study suggests that at least a million of its residents feel the pain of the digital divide.

Malmö's 19th Swedish title sets Champions hopes alight
Malmö fans celebrating after the match. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö FF have their eyes set on the Champions League after winning the Swedish league for the 19th time.

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available