France, Sweden Look To Strengthen Nuclear Collaboration

France is looking to come up with many nuclear reactors in Sweden, as per an agreement inked on the sidelines of the EU’s Energy Council meeting held in Brussels on December 19.

The letter of intent, which happens to be signed by Ebba Busch, who is Sweden’s Minister for Energy, and Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the French Energy Minister, states the French industry’s interest in pushing the offer for French nuclear power reactors across Sweden.

To be specific, the French state-owned energy company EDF, which happens to specialize in nuclear power, has been actively engaged in discussions with the Swedish state-owned utility company Vattenfall over the advancements when it comes to installing nuclear energy in the Scandinavian nation. 

The letter remarks that the EDF happens to have all the assets so as to propose viable solutions as part of its development plan for new nuclear power across Europe, which will have a high-power technology offering with the family of EPR and EPR1200 reactors and also a low-power technology by way of its small modular NUWARD SMR reactor.

France and Sweden will go on to facilitate technical exchanges when it comes to the participation of their industry so as to support reactor maintenance, the extension of its life, and also timely power upgrades, thereby outlining the preparation phases when it comes to the launch of new nuclear projects and also ways in which both governments can, in a collaborative way and also by cost-efficiency, roll out low-carbon energy.

Post the letter was signed, the French Energy Minister stated that nuclear power is back in Europe.

It is well to be noted that France has been adamant when it comes to pushing its nuclear agenda in the EU negotiations. At the recently held COP28, it went on to lead a group of 20 nations in the signing of a pledge to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050 from 2020 levels. The declaration stressed the significance of nuclear energy in achieving global net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as well as carbon neutrality by 2050. However, the pledge is not legally binding.

France, apparently, happens to have a long history with nuclear power, given the fact that it is still producing the majority of its domestic electricity from the nuclear reactors that are aging, all of which are operated by EDF. The state takeover of the company was only finalized in 2023 after initially being recommended in March last year as EDF continued to bleed losses due to failures throughout its nuclear fleet.

When we talk of Sweden, its coalition government has already made efforts in order to revive its lacking nuclear sector this year. In June this year, it transformed the wording of its 100% renewable energy by 2045 to 100% fossil-free, thereby leaving room to have nuclear power too in its energy mix. In November this year, the Swedish government rolled out a road map for its nuclear industry’s development, which looks to enable the enormous expansion of fresh nuclear power by 2045.