Sweden plans 'massive' nuclear power expansion

by IANS |

Stockholm, Nov 17 (IANS) Sweden is planning a "massive" expansion of new nuclear power, the government said, adding that by 2045, it wants the country to have the equivalent of 10 new reactors, two of which will already be operational by 2035.

This will mean "a historic restructuring of Sweden's energy policy", Energy Minister Ebba Busch said at a press conference outlining the policy shift from 100 per cent renewable to 100 per cent fossil-free electricity generation.

"We have to double electricity production within 25 years," Xinhua news agency quoted the Minister as saying.

To achieve this goal, the limitation on the number of nuclear reactors is lifted and the permitting processes for new reactors will be streamlined and speeded up, she said.

The government has also decided to introduce credit guarantees for investments in new nuclear power, Busch said.

An economic model for risk-sharing between the state and the investors in new nuclear infrastructure will also be developed.

Busch said the expansion was urgent to meet the increasing demand for electricity as the green industries develop and also because "the electricity system has never been as fragile as it is now".

She recalled that the grid nearly collapsed due to imbalances last winter.

Last year, 170 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity were produced in the country, of which 69 per cent came from renewables, according to Statistics Sweden.

Hydroelectric power accounted for 41 per cent of the total output, while nuclear and wind accounted for 29 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively.

According to the Swedish Energy Agency, the country's electricity consumption may double to 280 TWh per year by 2035 and increase further to 370 TWh by 2045.

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