Forsmark fiasco turns Swedes off nuclear power

Over the last four years Swedes have become more positive towards nuclear power, with one in four favouring an expansion of Sweden's nuclear power programme.

But recent revelations about safety failings at the Forsmark power station have led to a surge in scepticism.

On Thursday Forsmark’s managing director, Lars Fagerberg, resigned with immediate effect after it became clear that a sample of a suspect rubber pannel in the reactor’s outer housing was left untested for seven months.

It was later discovered that the panel had lost its required elasticity, according to a spokesman for Forsmark’s operator FKA.

Polling company Sifo this week interviewed 1,000 people on behalf of newspaper Svenska Dagbladet about their attitudes towards nuclear power. Some 25 percent say they would favour increasing the number of power stations – up from just 16 percent in 2003.

The number of people who would prefer to maintain today’s levels of nuclear power has fallen by 6 percent. But at the same time more people – 58 percent, compared to 55 percent three years ago – want to keep at least the ten existing reactors in Sweden.

Out-and-out opposition to nuclear power has fallen. The number of people who want to get rid of it altogether, either in the long run or immediately, has dropped from 41 percent to 36 percent.

But after information emerged about poor safety at Forsmark, Sifo added another question to the list: has your attitude towards nuclear power been influenced by recent concerns about the safety at Forsmark nuclear power station?

One in five of those interviewed said they had become more sceptical of nuclear power.