Sweden turns to France as it looks to buy two new nuclear reactors

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By Euronews  with AFP
French president Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Sweden's prime minister Ulf Kristersson (R) at his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris on January 3, 2023.
French president Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Sweden's prime minister Ulf Kristersson (R) at his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris on January 3, 2023.   -   Copyright  AFP

Sweden and France could be set to join forces to build new nuclear power stations in the Nordic nation, to boost domestic power production and guarantee security of supply. 

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson outlined the possible partnership in Paris on Tuesday on his first trip to an EU capital since Sweden took over the six-month rotating EU Council Presidency on 1 January. 

"The Swedish-French partnership has good potential in nuclear energy," Kristersson said in the courtyard of the Elysée Palace, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron. 

"The new Swedish government is determined to build new nuclear power plants and we are very impressed by the French experience" in this area, he added.

Kristersson came to power in mid-October. Although his party was only the third most popular in the general election, he was able to form an alliance with the far-right Sweden Democrats who wield enormous influence over all aspects of Kristersson's policy programme for government.  

Sweden "needs to buy two nuclear reactors", Ulf Kristersson told Swedish journalists during his visit to Paris.

"And I am entirely open to France being one of the countries that will make sure that Sweden has more nuclear power," he added.

Sweden currently has six reactors in operation at three different plants, commissioned between 1975 and 1985. Several other reactors have been shut down since 1999.

The Nordic countries have long been one of the French nuclear industry's hopes for an atomic power revival in Europe. 

After a 17-year construction period that was filled with delays and false-starts, France's Areva has built Europe's first EPR -- pressurised water -- reactor in Sweden's neighbour, Finland. 

The Swedish Prime Minister expressed his desire to strengthen cooperation with France in the defence and space sectors.

The two leaders reaffirmed Europe's determination to support Ukraine in the tenth month of the Russian offensive, as winter sets in.

"The Ukrainians need our support more than ever," said Emmanuel Macron. "The victory of Ukraine is existential for Europe and for the whole world," Ulf Kristersson added.

The French president also restated his desire to see the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, a process which is currently blocked by Turkey and Hungary. Macron said he wanted it to become a reality "as soon as possible." 

"You can count on France's support and solidarity," he insisted.

Macron called for a common European "response" to the massive US investment plan, particularly in environmental matters, in order to defend European industry and "jobs". We need a "made in Europe" strategy," he reiterated.