Support rises for new nuclear plants in Sweden

A new opinion poll shows that 48 percent of Swedes support the building of new nuclear power plants.

Support rises for new nuclear plants in Sweden

Only 39 percent of respondents oppose the idea, while 13 percent remain uncertain.

The figures represent a sharp increase in support for nuclear plant construction.

According to Dagens Nyheter (DN), which commissioned polling firm Synovate to undertake the study, support for the idea in previous polls had never been above 35 percent.

DN notes however, the comparison to earlier studies is difficult because of differences in how past surveys were conducted. The new study marks the first time that voters were posed the question directly of whether they are for or against the building of new nuclear power plants.

Nevertheless, public opinion regarding the future of nuclear power development appears at odds with recent Riksdag decisions to move toward the phasing out of nuclear power in Sweden.

Public support for nuclear power has increased steadily in Sweden in recent years, despite a series safety and maintenance lapses at the Forsmark nuclear power plant north of Stockholm in 2006 and 2007.

The plant remains under investigation and will be the subject of a safety survey by the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog agency, starting in February.

The results of the survey also reveal splits within Sweden’s two main political blocks regarding the future of nuclear power. In the governing Alliance parties, support for new plants is high among respondents identifying with both the Moderates and the Liberal Party.

However, 69 percent of Center Party sympathizers are against new nuclear plants, and opinion split almost evenly among Christian Democratic voters.

Among the opposition parties, Social Democratic voters are in favor of building new nuclear plants, but only by a slim margin. In contrast, supporters of both the 78 percent of Left Party supporters and 66 percent of Green Party supporters are strongly opposed to additional nuclear power.