Sweden continues to expand nuclear energy production

The Forsmark nuclear power plant on the east coast of Sweden, taken by Arenamontanus

The Swedish government is showing no signs of reversing its plans to expand nuclear energy in the aftermath of the ongoing catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan.

According to figures from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, Sweden will boost nuclear power output by over 12 percent at eight of the country’s ten nuclear power plants.

A renewed nuclear debate

Less than nine months ago, Sweden’s center-right minority government narrowly passed historic legislation that lifted a 30-year ban on building new nuclear reactors.

Now opposition parties are once again questioning the government’s strategy. Some nuclear experts are expressing safety concerns with particular aspects of the program. And a new poll shows 64 percent of Swedes opposing the construction of new nuclear power plants.

“The government chose nuclear power over renewable energy,” says Anders Lindgren, op-ed columnist at Aftonbladet, a newspaper whose editorial pages are affiliated with the Social Democrats. “The current situation in Japan is an uncomfortable reminder of how badly thought out that policy was.”

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt defended his government’s position on television last week. He said that the world needed to learn from what had happened in Japan. But he emphasized that all energy production had an impact on the environment. Read More