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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sweden scraps ban on nuclear power with plan to replace 10 reactors


Centre-right government wants to build new generation of power stations to help cut carbon emissions
Adam Vaughan
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 5 February 2009 12.10 GMT
Article history
The Swedish government plans to reverse a nearly 30-year-old ban on building nuclear power plants, giving the green light to a new generation of reactors.

The centre-right government wants the new reactors to be built to replace the country's 10 existing stations.

The decision reverses a 1980 referendum when the majority of voters backed an end to nuclear expansion and the government pledged to phase out nuclear power plants.

But public support has grown since nuclear power has been repositioned as a low carbon energy source and a weapon in the fight against climate change. The decision by Sweden to back nuclear power contrasts with the nation's careful cultivation of its green image. In 2006, Sweden pledged to replace the use of all fossil fuels by 2020, but nuclear was not part of that plan.

Finland is currently the only country in the EU building a nuclear reactor. Its new Olkiluoto plant is being built in partnership with a consortium led by France's state-owned energy company, Areva. The project has been beset by delays and cost overuns, however, and is unlikely to be completed until 2012, three years behind schedule.

In the UK Gordon Brown's government is enthusiastic about building a new generation of reactors, arguing that both tackling global warming and ensuring security of energy supply are critical. German power giants E.ON and RWE are jointly bidding to build three stations, while EDF's takeover of British Energy has paved the way for it to construct a fleet of new atomic stations in the UK.


Alexandra Prokopenko said...

Sure, Sweden does not want to stand in shoes of Lithuania after it closes Ignalina - replacement here is the best strategy. If the 10 Swedish reactors are phased out now, Sweden has no other choice then buying electricity from Finland, Norway, and Russia (which will require the construction of an expensive energy bridge on the bottom of the Baltic sea). Sweden is not a cheap country to live in anyway, and with high electricity prices it might get even worse.
It is remarkable that even one of the most "environment-concerned" nations in the world does not plan to fully turn to renewable sources like wind and solar.

Anonymous said...

Wow big move by Sweden(and great move:). Hopefully also as they replace their older reactors they replace them with very large new reactors.

The world nuclear association lists their 10 nuclears as giving together 9,000 MW of capacity. If they built 10 EPR's that'd boost it up to 16,000 MW.


Rod Adams said...

Alexandra - Great news! I knew that your current neighbors would make the rational choice, eventually.

Alexandra Prokopenko said...

Well, they are rational... although sometimes a bit slow and difficult to change the decisions once made. That's Nordic mentality.

rsm said...

It does seem like things are much different in Sweden versus when I worked there in 1996.

Although the proposal must go through parliament, it is good news for nuclear.

Alexandra Prokopenko said...

Anyway, let's wait and see what happens. My only hope is that Swedish parliamentarians are reasonable people.

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