Vattenfall crisis: nuclear plant shutdown

The crisis at Swedish energy company Vattenfall continues with the shutting down of another of its nuclear power plants in Germany.

The Brunsbüttel plant in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein was temporarily closed last month, only for it to be shut down again over the weekend. The closure will go on indefinitely while security checks are carried out.

According to state officials, nuclear safety experts found failures in the emergency cooling system at the plant.

Vattenfall has caused much controversy in recent weeks, following the shutdown of a nuclear plant at Kruemmel, near Hamburg. German officials accused Vattenfall of failing to report the full extent of the problems at its plants. The firm denied a cover-up, but the scandal prompted the head of its Europe branch to resign last Wednesday, days after Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded an explanation, saying Vattenfall had made ”dramatic errors”.

The company’s Chief Executive, Lars Josefsson, was named last December as Merkel’s advisor on climate change. Vattenfall, owned by the Swedish government, makes half of its annual turnover of some US$22 billion in Germany.

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