Left Party demands nuclear shutdown

As Sweden's nuclear energy crisis deepens, the Left Party has put further pressure on the government by demanding the closure of another nuclear power station by 2010.

If the left block wins the September election, that will be one of the conditions for the Social Democrats receiving the support it needs from the Left Party, said leader Lars Ohly. He told Svenska Dagbladet that there should instead be more investment in wind and wave energy, solar power and biofuels.

“I believe it is entirely possible,” said Ohly.

“Until I’m persuaded of the contrary, I’ll see this as a starting point for negotiations.”

Five of Sweden’s ten nuclear reactors are currently offline after faults were found at two of the reactors at the Oskarshamn plant in southern Sweden. Two reactors at Forsmark were shut down last week while Barsebäck 2 was closed last year.

Ohly said he had no views on which of the remaining five reactors should be shut first, but that Sweden should stop using nuclear power by 2025.

The statement was welcomed by the Green Party’s Peter Eriksson. The Greens want to see Sweden switch off nuclear power even sooner

“It’s good – I think they should do the same when it comes to phasing out the use of oil,” said Eriksson to SvD.

Peter Eriksson was also non-committal about how many reactors should be phased out if the ruling Red-Green coalition holds on to power in September.

The support of the Greens and the Left Party would be crucial for the Social Democrats’ energy policy. Earlier in the year an agreement between the Social Democrats, the Left Party and the opposition Centre Party led to the closure of Barsebäck 2.

But the Centre Party has now agreed with the other three opposition parties to freeze any changes in Sweden’s nuclear capacity in the forthcoming mandate period, with no new development and no closures.