Vattenfall ‘worst’ nuclear power firm in Europe

Vattenfall 'worst' nuclear power firm in Europe
Sweden' state-owned energy company Vattenfall has the worst performance among 27 European nuclear power operators, according to a report from the United Nations energy agency.

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.

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.

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