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This blog is aimed at tracing the world news related to nuclear power development internationally and in particular countries. Being an independent resource, we accept all kinds of opinions, positions and comments, and welcome you to discuss the posts and tell us what you think.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Saturday morning article. Nuclear VS wind power in Sweden

Recently we discussed Sweden's turn to nuclear power - decision to build new reactors after the old ones a phased outs, which we nuclear bloggers and many other reasonable people around the world saw as a wise and rational step for Sweden on path to its energy security.

However, living in Swedish province and reading local papers, one can notice that the Swedes themselves are far from accepting nuclear as a sourse of energy. Yesterday, for example I got fresh ETC Örebro, a paper where anyone can express opinion, that is considered "alternative". And there I found a whole bunch of articles where various private people advocate wind power, expressing an open anti-nuclear attitude. Even blaming the state and big companies for disregarding wind as an option, polluting our green Sweden with nuclear waste that we do not know what to do with, and other arguments like that.

I live in Sweden for more then 4 years now in total, and I'm not surprized to hear this. Swedes, once they believed in one propaganda, do not change their mind easily. They will debate and prove in front of everyone that this is what they think (just because someone managed to put it into their minds on an axyomatic level).

"Environmentalists" can be proud with their PR results in this country - more then the USSR can be proud of communism propaganda. People in Sweden are even less free to choose their opinion - they cannot doubt things that seem fundamental for them at a certain time.

"We mind our environment, and this is why we will never let dirty nuclear power plants to be built in this country." That's the basic statement I hear. Then, when I ask "WHY?", a surprized pause follows, and they continue remembering Chernobyl (which they know surprizingly little about), TMI, consequences of uranium mining etc. - a complete antinuclear PR pack at the most primitive level. This is what you hear from the man in Sweden in street. Once you say you are pronuclear, you feel like "people's enemy". Because you are an outsider - "not like us".

I desided to do a small calculation. One average large wind power device produces about 68 000 kWt per year (at wind speed not below 8 m per second). This is about 7.76 kWt per hour. Then I went to Ignalina NPP website that has good statistics on hourly output. Ignalina-2 only RBMK-1500 (izwini, Aladar, for using just this reactor - I just had quick access to these figures :=))) for 14.02.2009 produces 1326,55 MWt per hour. This is correspondent to an hourly output of about 1 500 wind agregates (Up to 1 MWt, at wind speed 8m/s, on condition that the wind is constantly blowing). Spectacular, huh?

No doubt, wind agregate could be a solution for a small farm in a windy place on some island like Gotland where it always blows, at least 3m/s. Especially if that farm is far away from any other electricity connection. Sweden has a lot of scattered places like that, especially in the upper North. But once there is a need of supplying industry - like the one Sweden has - and coping with a growing demand for electricity in cities, a safe modern nuclear plant is certainly a better and more reliable solution.

Or, maybe, Swedes would like to be the first to fulfill the Obama-like plan and go over to renewables completely by 2015? This country is already loosing a lot of jobs. Life here is hell expensive compared even to countries like Germany, I am not talking about Ukraine and ex-USSR which I am more familiar with. Business is moving away. Domestic population is ageing and dying out, while more "fruitful", active and believing Iraqis, Iranians and Somalis are replacing them.

IMHO Swedish society needs a challenge to wake up from being naive children, looking at the world through pink eyeglasses. Energy challenge is already there. But these people also need to learn how to survive without the caring state that thinks for them, pays their bills and tells them what to do. These people need to come out of their greenhouse.


Anonymous said...

Powerful writing! I for one, agree with everything you said.

Possibly many Swedes have been so wealthy(mainly from brilliant huge investments made over a generation ago) that they have been able to literally afford to mentally live in a fantasy world where things are the way they 'want' them to be.. not the way things actually are.


Alexandra Prokopenko said...

Yes, indeed... and now the problem is that they are not as wealthy anymore. One Swedish friend of mine says that now more and more people complain about how things are getting worse for them, and how nice life in Sweden was before. I'm just curious to see what happens when this "unreal world" finally collapse here - it has already started.

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