Sweden touts nuclear power as remedy for Russian dependence and high prices: ‘a dire situation’
Nuclear power is a key tool to reduce reliance on Russian oil and gas while helping to provide a cheaper alternative as Europe faces a heating crisis this winter, minister says Swedish Foreign Affairs.
Tobias Billström, who took office in October as foreign minister, told Fox News Digital that his government believes it must “step up building more nuclear energy” because Sweden is a small nation and needs “safe, clean, secure”. energy” which is “cheap”.
“We want to see more nuclear reactors being built,” Billström said during an interview at the Aspen Security Forum in Washington, DC. Swedish industry to be able to finance the construction of new nuclear reactors.”
Nuclear power has proven to be a contentious issue in Europe over the past decade, with Germany deciding to shut down its plants and France planning to build new ones as various countries reconsidered the best direction in nuclear energy. ‘nuclear energy. German Minister of State Tobias Lindner recently told Fox News Digital that “resistance against nuclear power” is part of the “DNA of German society.”
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Energy prices have soared due to sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine and the drastic reduction of gas supplies from Moscow to Europe, including the indefinite shutdown of its Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
When asked if Europe should do more to reduce its energy dependence on Russia, Billström agreed and noted that “Russia’s aggression in Ukraine” showed “exactly how insecurity [the] the whole situation is.”
“We should all take very seriously the situation that has arisen with so many countries facing dire straits in terms of the cost to households due to high energy pricing,” Billström said.
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Unlike many other European countries, Sweden is not dependent on Russian gas, but Russia remains a major concern – so much so that Sweden voted to join NATO after decades of neutrality for security reasons.
Stockholm has worked to strengthen its ties with the United States and other allies to better protect itself against potential threats, including cyberattacks.
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“We would like to have closer collaboration and cooperation on a bilateral level between the United States and Sweden, because we know and believe that we can offer a lot for cybersecurity, both with technological resources, but also with intelligence,” Billström explained. .
Billström noted that the United States and Sweden have a “very good” relationship, saying he only felt “goodwill from congressional and administration officials” during his visit to Washington DC.
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“I am really looking forward, both as Foreign Minister of Sweden” and as the new holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union “to maintain these good relations, to develop them and to see that the United States, Sweden and Europe are in a good concerted mode,” Billström said.
This partnership extends to the People’s Republic of China, with Billström noting the need for “close cooperation between the EU and the US on China issues”.
The United States and Sweden also form a united front against Iran. Stockholm has strongly condemned Tehran’s recent execution of a protester after three months of protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
“We are looking very seriously at Iran now embarking on this method to try to stifle what is ultimately, you know, a belief in freedom and a desire for freedom among these women and girls on the streets of Tehran and ‘other cities,’ says Billström.
“I have personally insisted on the need to put it on the agenda. At the next meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Brussels, Iran will be a specific point on the agenda thanks to the efforts of the Swedish government to include it.”
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“I think we should stand with those who want freedom of expression on the streets of Iran,” he added. “Women and girls are now paying a very high price for the brutality suffered by security forces,” he added. “We have to show Iran that this kind of method is unacceptable.”