Earlier this week it was the Finns who demonstrated a new commitment to nuclear power. Now it’s the Swedes who agreed to replace aging reactors with new ones and to get rid of a costly tax on nuclear power plants. The FT reports:
Sweden aims to produce all of its power from renewable sources by 2040 but in the meantime will build new nuclear plants to replace old ones being phased out, according to an agreement between government and opposition parties on Friday…Sweden currently gets about 40 per cent of its electricity from nine nuclear reactors. But four of its older reactors are due to close by the end of this decade. […]
As part of Friday’s deal, Sweden will also phase out from next year a tax on nuclear power that had led power producers to threaten to close down reactors if it was not withdrawn. Vattenfall, Sweden’s largest utility, threatened earlier this year to shut by the end of the decade the country’s six remaining reactors if the tax — which raised about SKr4bn ($484m) last year — was not scrapped.
Sweden’s Green Party is predictably perturbed by this, informed no doubt by the modern environmentalist’s knee-jerk repudiation of nuclear power’s place in a sustainable energy mix. Fortunately for the environment, these “greens” aren’t getting their way and Sweden is on track to continue to rely on zero-emissions nuclear energy for a substantial portion of its electricity production.
While Germany sets an example for how not to craft an eco-friendly energy mix, its encouraging to see other countries taking a more measured approach by recognizing the value nuclear energy has: it provides reliable, round-the-clock power without emitting harmful local air pollutants or greenhouse gases. It’s the world’s green energy workhorse, and at least in some parts of Europe it’s getting the respect it deserves.