Vattenfall criticised over Russian energy deal

The Swedish state-owned energy giant Vattenfall is facing criticism over its decision to buy nuclear fuel from Russia at a time when the European Union is trying to avoid dependency on Russian energy.

Torbjörn Wahlborg, head of Vattenfall's nuclear-power division, told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that Vattenfall is to receive samples of a new nuclear fuel from the Russian state-controlled nuclear energy corporation Rosatom. The fuel will be tested at Sweden's Ringhals nuclear power station. If the results are good, deliveries could start in 2020 at the earliest.

Wahlborg told Svenska Dagbladet that the deal could help Vattenfall avoid becoming dependent on a small number of suppliers and that, in turn, could help push prices down for consumers. So far, Vattenfall has mainly depended on two suppliers, one in the United States and one in France.

Swedish Green Party politician Per Bolund voiced critics' fears of the deal, saying that Vattenfall should avoid becoming dependent upon Russian energy.

But Ingmar Oldberg of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (Utrikespolitiska institutet) told news agency TT that Russia already sells nuclear fuel to several European countries.

"This is a product for which there is a global market price and which you can haul so you do not need to become dependent. If the price is right you can turn to someone else. It is not like gas, where you can become tied to gas pipelines," Oldberg said.

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