Sweden softens nuclear stance

Sweden softens nuclear stance

Sweden`s Energy Commission has backed down from a commitment to eliminate nuclear power. The commission had previously planned to shut down the country`s 13 nuclear reactors that produce half of the country`s power by 2010.

Nuclear power is a controversial issue in Sweden, where a 1980 referendum called for closure of the nuclear plants as soon as it became economically and environmentally possible. Parliament set the shut down date for 2010.

The date has been considered unrealistic, but Sweden still plans to phase out its nuclear stations.

“It is the opinion of the commission that one nuclear reactor can be shut down during the mandate period without negatively affecting the power balance,” the report stated. The parliamentary mandate period ends in 1998.

The country is working to bring alternative power sources on line and to develop energy savings programs. The commission said 7 percent of the country`s electricity needs can be generated through renewable energy sources by 2010. Price was also a factor, as the commission projected closing the reactors by the original date would cost approximately (US)$10 to 13 billion, pushing electricity prices up by 50 percent.

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