E.On seeks early closure of reactors

Germany’s E.On, which owns 54.5% of nuclear power plant operator OKG, announced yesterday that low electricity prices and high maintenance costs associated with the Oskarshamn reactors 1 and 2 meant that it was seeking to close both units. Minority owner Fortum opposes the decision.

The news, which comes just two months after Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall said it was seeking the early closure of the Ringhals 1 and 2 reactors, could leave Sweden with just six reactors.

Sweden’s centre-left government has increased taxes on nuclear power capacity since it came to power, from 6 to 7 öre per kilowatt-hour. It has been estimated that OKG will pay SKr 1 billion annually in capacity tax, revenue that the Treasury can no longer count on.

Commenting the news, Ibrahim Baylan, the energy minister, says it is vital that cross-party agreement is reached on a long-term solution.

Meanwhile, the Moderates have requested that Baylan be summoned to appear before the parliamentary commission on the constitution.

“In recent months we have received news that four reactors will close. Obviously this will have a major impact on businesses and jobs,” says Lars Hjälmared, the Moderate spokesman on energy policy.