Nuclear power plant’s future in limbo

A nuclear power plant in western Sweden has had its application to increase its capacity turned down by the Environmental Court of Appeal.

The future of the Ringhals plant, south of Gothenburg, now lies in the hands of the government,.

According to the court the ruling was a result of the power station’s failure to comply with existing environmental codes.

The court said its decision was made partly on the basis that nuclear power produces harmful waste. The court also ruled that the plant poses a risk of accidents which would cause long-term injuries, and argued that 60 per cent of the energy produced is not effectively used.

The reaction at Ringhals was one of disappointment.

“I was surprised that we didn’t receive a decisive verdict today.” Ringhals’s chief executive, Jan Edberg, told Sveriges Radio.

“An extended application process delays increased power output,” he added.

The government will now decide Ringhals’ fate.

Environment Minister Lena Sommestad said that the court had made an “important decision.”

“ We are well aware that nuclear power is a power source associated with great risks and environmental problems. That is why we have decided long term to phase out nuclear power production.”

However, the government can still approve the application. The final decision would have landed on the government’s table regardless of the Environmental Court of Appeal’s ruling.

The government would have had an easier time making a final decision had the court returned a favorable ruling.

This is the first time a nuclear power facility has been held evaluated by the environment standards code.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Uppsala Nya Tidning, Sveriges Radio