Sweden’s Ambitious Plan for 10 New Nuclear Reactors Faces Criticism

The Swedish government’s proposal to construct a minimum of 10 new nuclear reactors within the next two decades has drawn scrutiny from environmental experts. Critics argue that the plan is overly expensive and could prove insufficient to address the nation’s energy demands in a timely manner.

In an announcement made by Romina Pourmokhtari, the Climate Minister, Sweden outlined its intention to double its electricity production over the coming 20 years in order to meet its climate objectives.

The proposition of introducing 10 new reactors represents a significant departure from Sweden’s current nuclear power capacity. Presently, the country operates six reactors located in Forsmark, Oskarshamn, and Ringhals, which collectively contribute around 30% of the nation’s electricity generation.

Lars J Nilsson, a professor affiliated with Lund University and a member of the European climate advisory board, has expressed reservations about the government’s assertion that new reactors are imperative. He views this move as more symbolic than pragmatic, contending that the expansion of electricity production in Sweden is currently being driven by wind power. Nilsson opined that the only feasible scenario for new nuclear power in Sweden would involve substantial government assurances akin to those seen at the Hinkley Point project in the UK.

Nilsson further noted that if the proposed reactors were to materialize, the financial burden would likely fall heavily upon Swedish taxpayers. He revealed that the public response to this latest announcement has been lukewarm, highlighting that nuclear expansion has been a contentious topic in the past.

The reputation of Sweden as a frontrunner in environmental sustainability is undergoing a transformation, according to Nilsson. He observed that the EU and Brussels are now playing a more pivotal role in driving momentum and progress towards climate goals.

The Moderates party in Sweden concurred when forming a coalition government with the Christian Democrats, Liberals, and the far-right Sweden Democrats that additional reactors could be sanctioned. This agreement was tied to the promise that investments in nuclear power would be rendered financially viable through credit assurances and pricing adjustments.

This recent announcement marked the first occasion on which the government provided an anticipated figure for the proposed new reactors.