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Gone fission: Sweden to close nuclear power plant

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15:42 CEST+02:00
The government, with the backing of the Social Democrats and the Left Party, has approved plans to shut down Barsebäck 2, a nuclear power plant just outside Malmö.

As DN reported on Monday, the future of Barsebäck 2 has been discussed before but it now looks like 2005 will be its final year. Prime minister Göran Persson went so far as to tell the press: "Nuclear power has run out of steam."

It sounds like the end is nigh for Sweden's nuclear power industry, but it's unclear just when or if other plants will be shut down. Aftonbladet was guessing sometime between 2010 and 2015, but none of the experts could give them a firm date. No matter what, Göran Persson was out to make one thing clear: it's high time Sweden found another means of generating electricity.

That, according to DN, was music to Danish ears.

"How wonderful," Anette Caspersen told the paper. "Now it will feel completely different swimming [in the Øresund] next year.

"We don't have nuclear power in Denmark," Mette Eriksen confessed, "and it's not particularly nice having it so close by."

With perhaps a touch of sour grapes, Bo Källstrand, Managing Director of Svensk Energi/Swedenergy, said in his press statement that it was a "Black day for Swedish environmental politics."

In a press statement he attacked the Government's decision to pull the plug on Swedish nuclear power and claimed the move would "diminish Sweden's reputation as one of the leading nations working to combat the so-called greenhouse effect."

What's more Källstrand claimed the Government's move "will probably lead to higher electricity prices" and put additional pressure on an already strained network. Göran Persson disagreed and assured the publich that shutting down Barsebäck 2 would not inconvenience customers,

When Expressen on Tuesday asked Persson when the last nuclear power station would be closed in Sweden, he was coy:

"I don't know. I don't want to set a time limit for it. Those politicians that have done that before me have failed miserably. We don't even want to rule out that those nuclear plants currently in existence can't be changed or further developed"

So whether Sweden really is going to kick the nuclear power industry into touch remains Göran's business.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Expressen, Aftonbladet, Svensk Energi

Jon Buscall

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