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Sweden critical of German nuclear decision

Sweden critical of German nuclear decision

Published: 30 May 2011 11:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 May 2011 11:59 GMT+02:00

Sweden's environment minister Andreas Carlgren has criticised Germany's decision to decommission its nuclear power stations as "unrealistic".

"To focus so strongly on which year nuclear power is to be wound down raises the risk that the key issue is missed: how are we to meet the dual challenge of both cutting nuclear power dependency and of climate emissions," Carlgren told the TT news agency, adding that he is glad that in Sweden the notion of a fixed deadline has been discarded.

Germany announced late Sunday that it plans to wind down its nuclear power capacity by 2022 after Angela Merkell's coalition government was able to agree on a timetable.

Germany currently produces 87 percent of its electricity needs from fossil fuels and the remainder from nuclear and hydro power. Carlgren expressed concern over how Germany would be able to make up the shortfall.

"The decisive issue for Germany now is that it is highly likely that it will increase imports of nuclear generated electricity from France and that it will risk not being able to ease dependency on fossil fuels - primarily of coal power," he said.

The decision to discontinue nuclear power has come after a prolonged debate in Germany following the Japanese nuclear catastrophe in March and the country thus becomes the first industrialised nation to take the step.

Germany's environment minister Norbert Röttgen confirmed that the seven older nuclear reactors which were immediately taken out of service after the problems at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, will not be restarted.

One of the main firms operating within the German nuclear power sector is the subsidiary of Swedish state-owned firm Vattenfall. Germany is Vattenfall's largest electricity market in Europe.

Carlgren played down the significance for Vattenfall, and was instead keen to focus on how the company and Sweden should meet the energy needs of the future.

"The most important issue is how fast we can expand the construction of renewable energy," he told TT, adding that in 20 years he hopes that Sweden will draw two-thirds of its electricity supplies from renewable energy sources.

The Local reported in March that the Fukushima nuclear disaster had also had an impact on Swedish support for nuclear power. A Sifo poll at the time indicated that 64 percent of Swedes were against the construction of new nuclear facilities.

Sweden generates 50 percent of its electricity supply from 10 reactors at the three power stations - Forsmark, Ringhals and Oskarshamn - currently in commercial operation.

The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:52 May 30, 2011 by Grokh
Bs, germany is the only country with balls on this matter.

they say they are done with it and are doing just that, most countries would say they are done with something and take years to go through with it , like guantanamo .
14:20 May 30, 2011 by eddie123
what is sweden's concern with germany's internal affairs?
14:43 May 30, 2011 by greenl1ght
eddie123: The EU is building a common european energy market, so it affects all of Europe. Long-term, electricity prices in Sweden are already expected to double. Not to mention that the swedish state-owned Vattenfall owns affected nuclear power plants in Germany, so we have a business interest in that respect as well.
15:54 May 30, 2011 by jackx123
send all the entire green party down to germany to help out
19:48 May 30, 2011 by planet.sweden
A very selfish decision by Germany, they're basically putting husbandry of their own back yard before any commitment to reduce their CO2 emissions. It will be impossible for Germany to both phase out nuclear power and cut its carbon footprint which whatever they say will now rise. It's the "I'm alright Jack" approach to global problems.
20:40 May 30, 2011 by Mib
Regardless of what you or I or the rest of the world do....China and India are doing the complete opposite as fast growing developing countries. China has enough coal to last it for centries and is building 2 a week coal fire stations.

Germany has taken a view that Nuclear energy is not a risk worth taking anymore. Presumably it has a plan to replace this energy with new technology. Germany has been one of the leaders in subsidising solar panels and other technology to get people to generate their own energy.

Governments talk the talk, but what have they really done apart from talk and use a stick via taxes to reduce waste and increase efficiency. If they wanted to do it....they have the power to do it. The likes of Vattenfall have no urgency to change their ways and will continue as they are making money while making noises about the environment.

Face it people.....what have you seen in your daily lives that actually amkes a difference. We have half hearted attempts at hybrids, but ethanol is priced higher than petrol.....yet ethanol is made from crops, which has encouraged forests to be cleared to meet the demand. I have a 3 year old TV that has no on/off switch....i don't want it on standby...so have to physically unplug it.......iPads, smartphones, bluetooth devices and more are consuming more electricity....... We're having baby booms and consuming more disposabel nappies. How many people are prepared to use nappies that need to be washed. We're all hypocrites and to top it all, we actually may not have any control over global warming...but hey you get a bullet in your head if you question the religion of global warming!!
22:25 May 30, 2011 by procrustes
Prediction: Not only will Germany meet its clean energy goal within ten years, the challenge will drive their technology engine to develop solutions that will make them world leader in clean energy products and solutions. Japan will be in the race full bore, too. The rest of the world will lag because of political foot-dragging, lack of public will orchestrated by the dirty energy lobby. (@eddie123, Sweden isn't interested, their nuclear energy businesses are acutely interested.)

When President Kennedy set the goal to land a man on the moon within ten years, many scoffed and many more asked why? The moonshot took semiconductors from an expensive technical curiosity into mainstream products which led to computers for all, massive productivity improvement, the internet, medical breakthroughs and, and, and.

Germany's Merkel, for whatever motivation, has just changed the world and Germany will benefit big time. Now, in which German company should I invest? Siemens, or...I'm going to be a busy little puppy researching which companies will take the lead.
04:25 May 31, 2011 by foordranata
This decision is too big. I get a feeling of this, like something laughing at my face. I hope I´m wrong.

There´s always something else behind such things.
21:51 June 1, 2011 by Attestupa
This is an opportunistic u-turn by Angela Merkel, trying to counter her unpopular election results. Her heart is with nuclear power, that's for sure.

However, given that Germany has taken this decision then let them stick with it. Let them live by their word and not import electricity from either Sweden or France. And why not start doing that right now. If you are going to occupy the high moral ground then there is no place for hypocrisy. And that goes for other self-satisfied countries which proclaim they are non-nuclear whilst lighting their homes with nuclear electricity.
05:45 June 5, 2011 by jackx123
to produce the solar cells (from polysilicon) that can produce 1,000 MW (about 1 nuclear reactor) of solar electricity you need to generate over 300 MW in the first place and the process to do so is pretty nasty with loads of carcinogenic elements involved.

russia has put on hold some of their contemplated facilities.

then you have all the plumbing, fixtures etc made of polyethylene/polypropylene which requires loads of energy and oil derivatives.

china is currently planning/constructing 27 reactors - lol.

it is impossible to scrap nuclear power from one day to the other but should be in phases with a clear replacement plan yet to be seen in sweden.

however to have 2/3 of power from renewable in sweden is nonsense.

The Markbygden Wind Farm will be a series of wind farms in Norrbotten County and will be built by 2020, will have a capacity of up to 4 GW. If built out, the 55 billion kronor (€5.1 billion) project will be the largest wind farm in Europe. It will cover some 450 sq km, comprising about 1,100 wind turbines, and is expected to produce up to 12 TWh of electricity per year.

Swedish consumption is 150TWh..............
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