Scrap nuclear power in Sweden: Social Democrat

A leading Social Democrat has emphasized her party's wish to abolish nuclear power in Sweden in favour of greener alternatives, a move critics say would be "devastating" for the Swedish industrial sector.

Scrap nuclear power in Sweden: Social Democrat

“We think that nuclear power should be abolished and replaced with renewable energy sources,” Magdalena Andersson, economic policy spokesperson for the Social Democrats told Swedish business daily Dagens Industri (DI).

Party leader Stefan Löfven was previously a strong supporter of nuclear power in his role as chairman of the IF Metall trade union. However, since becoming the leader of the opposition last year, Löfven has changed his stance on the issue.

Sweden remains reliant on nuclear power with an estimated 35 percent of all electricity in the country produced by the plants. The first nuclear plant opened in 1972 in southern Sweden and the largest plant is located near Gothenburg.

Now the Social Democrats have made it known they are eager to phase out the country’s reliance on nuclear power following a debate between all economic policy spokespersons organized by Dagens Industri.

A fixed time frame on moving from nuclear to a greener alternative has yet to be decided, however, according to Andersson.

“We need to ensure a good energy supply to Swedish industries and the business sector so any nuclear phase out must coincide with the development of alternative energy sources,” she said.

At the last Social Democrat party congress, the party announced that in the long-term all of Sweden’s energy consumption should come from renewable sources.

However, they added that “nuclear power will continue to be an important part of our electricity production for a long time to come.”

The Social Democrats are seeking bipartisan support on this issue but have already encountered some resistance.

“If we were to sit down and seek a bipartisan agreement then the Social Democrats will shut down all nuclear reactors. If that were to happen I think it would be devastating for Sweden’s industrial base,” Carl.B Hamilton, spokesperson for economic affairs of the Liberal party (Folkpartiet), said during the debate.

Sweden has ten nuclear reactors at three plants and the country’s parliament passed a landmark bill in 2010 allowing the reactors to be replaced at the end of their life spans instead of simply ending nuclear power when they expire.

An opinion poll conducted in 2011 revealed that 36 percent of Swedes wanted to phase out nuclear power compared to 15 percent in 2008.

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