Support for new nuclear reactors grows: survey

Support for new nuclear reactors grows: survey
Photo: H. Blomberg/Forsmarks Kraftgrupp/Image Bank Sweden (file)
A decision in Sweden's parliament, the Riksdag, to allow old nuclear reactors to be replaced has broad support among Swedes, according to a survey presented by the Liberal Party.

The only group with a majority against the decision is among Green Party members.

“The decision to build new replacement reactors obviously has very broad support,” said Carl B. Hamilton, the Liberal Party’s economic spokesman. “Only a small minority want to tear it up.”

The Riksdag narrowly passed a landmark government proposal allowing the replacement of nuclear reactors at the end of their life span on June 17th.

Two Centre Party members voted no along with the red-green coalition, including Solveig Ternström, who has appeared at Almedal Week in Visby together with Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin and former EU Commissioner Margot Wallström.

The strongest support in the poll is among men and supporters of the centre-right parties, including the Centre Party, of which over 80 percent support the decision. Overall, it is supported by 72 percent, while 28 percent are opposed.

Even among Social Democrats, who have promised to reverse the decision if they win the autumn election, 66 percent of party supporters are in favour of the decision and only 34 percent are against it.

Among Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen, LO) members, 71 percent support the decision, while Left Party supporters are still weighing the pros and cons. Only Green Party supporters are against the decision, but they are a slim majority at 55 percent.

The leaders of the Social Democrats are completely out of tune with their sympathisers and also with unionists on the energy issue, said Hamilton.

The survey was conducted by consulting company United Minds between June 21st to 26th and is based on 1,008 responses.

The centre-right government announced in February 2009 that it was reversing a decision to phase out nuclear power as part of an ambitious new climate programme. The country had voted in a 1980 non-binding referendum to phase out its 12 reactors by this year, a target later abandoned by officials.

Since 1999, two of the reactors have been closed. The 10 remaining reactors, at three power stations, account for about half of Sweden’s electricity production.

The nuclear plan is part of the government’s climate programme, which stipulates that by 2020, renewable energy should comprise 50 percent of all energy produced, the Swedish car fleet be independent of fossil fuels in 10 years and the country be carbon-neutral by 2050.

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