New phase for Swedish nuclear

18 June 2010

New reactors will be permitted in Sweden from next year as its moratorium on nuclear power transforms into a new set of restrictions.


Oskarshamn (OKG)
Oskarshamn, where over 6% of
Sweden's electricity is generate

Overturning the decision of a referendum 30 years ago, yesterday's Riksdag vote will allow Swedish firms to replace the existing ten reactors that provide over 40% of the country's electricity.

The 1980 decision offered the public three different ways to end nuclear power but none to allow it to continue normally. In the intervening years Swedish utilities have concentrated on maintaining and uprating the ten reactors at Forsmark, Oskarshamn and Ringhals, adding 1050 MWe in extra generating capacity. Two reactors at Barseb├Ąck were shut down early because of political pressure from neighbouring Denmark leading to a net loss of only about 200 MWe.

The bill passed yesterday will come into effect on 1 January 2011, said a Riksdag statement that noted the Business and Industry Committee's determination that new nuclear power would recieve no subsidy.

Despite delivering a new era for Swedish nuclear, the new rules still contain arbitrary restrictions. For example, new reactors are only permitted at the existing three power plants and a new reactor may only begin operation as an older one is permanently shut down. None of the current fleet should need replacement before the 2030s.

This framework would limit the role nuclear power can play to the traditional position it already holds by encouraging utilities to build only the largest designs of 1600-1800 MWe that will be available in coming years. It would rule out the future use of small or modular nuclear systems in remote regions or for industrial cogeneration, while no early Generation-IV reactors would be likely to boast large enough generating capacities.

However, the longevity of the legislation in questionable. It was approved by only 174 to 172 and opposition and Green politicians have already pledged to try to re-instate old laws if and when they gain power.


Greenpeace at Forsmark

Shortly before the vote Greenpeace enthusiasts dressed as the sun, rain and wind used a fire engine to enter the Forsmark nuclear power plant. Some 50 were arrested.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News