14 Apr 2022, 12:36
Benjamin Wehrmann

Russia’s influence in EU nuclear power projects shown by Siemens Energy cooperation

Tageszeitung (taz)

Europe’s energy dependence on Russia is not limited to fossil fuels but also extends to nuclear power, and German company Siemens Energy’s continued cooperation with Russia’s state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom illustrates the complex nature of Russia’s role in European energy supply, newspaper Tageszeitung (taz) reports. Many reactors in the EU depend on nuclear fuel supplies from Russia and also the construction of planned new reactors in Finland and in Hungary hinges on cooperation with Rosatom. Together with French company Framatome, Siemens Energy provides instrumentations and control units to the planned nuclear power stations. The company told taz it condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and halted “all new business” within Russia, but the existing projects commissioned by Russia’s state-owned nuclear company would not be part of the European sanctions package. Germany’s economy and climate ministry (BMWK) does not plan to intervene in the cooperation, taz writes, arguing it would be “the result of corporate decision-making that we do not comment on”. The Green Party’s nuclear policy expert, Stefan Wenzel, a party colleague of Green economy and climate minister Robert Habeck, said this position would be untenable. “I expect the government to advocate an end to new nuclear projects with Rosatom at the EU level and to include it in the sanctions,” Wenzel told the newspaper.

The EU is under pressure to wean itself off Russian energy supplies in order to cut funding to Russia’s government and obstruct Moscow’s military ambitions in eastern Europe. The rapid pivot away from Russian coal, gas and oil has led to calls for increasing reliance on nuclear power, an option the German government rejected following a cost-benefit analysis. The country is on course to turn off its remaining three plants by the end of the year, but other European countries, such as Belgium, have reconsidered their schedule for ending nuclear power.

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