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[cdn-nucl-l] Sweden Wrestles With Nuclear Phase-Out Commitment: Unable to present any viable alternatives
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- Subject: [cdn-nucl-l] Sweden Wrestles With Nuclear Phase-Out Commitment: Unable to present any viable alternatives
- From: "Adam McLean" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 23:18:53 -0500
- Importance: Normal
Posted on Space Daily on March 21, 2002 and at:
Read paragraph two and you'll see what's being abandoned in the Swedish
nuclear industry... The idea of shutting them down at any time before
the next 30-40 years. Excellent article - a must read!
Sweden Wrestles With Nuclear Phase-Out Commitment
The Oskarshamn nuclear power plant on the east coast of Sweden
Stockholm (AFP) Mar 16, 2002
Sweden, struggling to find alternative energy sources to replace nuclear
power which it voted to phase out by 2010, admitted this week shutting
down all of its nuclear plants could take up to 40 years.
The country voted in a 1980 non-binding referendum to phase out all 12
nuclear reactors by 2010, but that target was abandoned in 1997 after
officials acknowledged that the availability of sufficient energy
sources to replace the output from the nuclear plants was unrealistic.
Unable to present any viable alternatives, the minority Social
Democratic government said Friday it had agreed with the ex-communist
Left party and the Center party to negotiate with Swedish energy
companies on when they would shut down their plants and how they would
be compensated for doing so.
Presenting the details of the accord, Industry Minister Bjoern Rosengren
said it would "take time to find alternative energy sources, and I think
it will be 30 to 40 years before nuclear power can be phased out."
The timeframe and the decision to allow the nuclear industry to set the
conditions of the phase-out sparked outrage from the Green Party.
"There is no agreement to phase out nuclear power. All there is is a
loose idea to look into the possibility to reach a voluntary agreement
with the nuclear power industry," party leader Matz Hammarstroem said.
Even Prime Minister Goeran Persson said he was caught off guard by
Rosengren's reference to a 40-year phase-out.
"I've spoken to Bjoern about that and I think that was more of an
opinion from his side," Swedish news agency TT quoted Persson as saying
from Barcelona where he was attending an EU summit.
"We don't have the political support for 40 years," he added.
But Persson refused to expand on what he considered to be a more
realistic time frame for shutting down the nuclear reactors.
"I don't know when, we are going to negotiate with the nuclear industry
about that. They are going to be allowed to determine the pace, but not
the time frame for the entire process," he stressed.
Nuclear power accounts for just under half of Sweden's electricity
Under the agreement, which is similar to an accord reached in Germany in
2001 on phasing out nuclear power, negotiations between government and
industry are to take place in 2003-2004.
The two sides will agree on how long each nuclear reactor will remain in
use and how much electricity each reactor will generate before it is
The agreement also calls for the production of renewable energy to
increase from the current six terrawatt hours, of a total of 150, to 16
terrawatt hours in the next eight years, and stipulates that a certain
quota of all electricity bought by consumers must come from solar or
wind power or biofuels.
A system of so-called "green certificates" will also be introduced,
whereby electricity suppliers who buy renewable electricity must also
buy a green certificate for each megawatt hour sold.
Producers are thus paid twice -- once for the electricity and once for
the certificate -- a system designed to compensate for the higher cost
of renewable energy.
The country's two main electricity companies, Vattenfall and Sydkraft,
said they were open to negotiations with the government, and welcomed
the announcement on the future of nuclear power.
Only one of Sweden's 12 reactors, the 600-megawatt Barsebeck plant, is
now closed, with plans to shut a second one by 2003.
EU Presses Bulgaria Over Nuclear Plant Closure
In separate developments, the European Union's chief negotiator with
Bulgaria insisted Monday that Sofia must close four ageing reactors at
its sole nuclear plant, as agreed in an accord letting the country begin
EU membership talks.
Bulgaria agreed to close down the reactors at the Soviet-built Kozloduy
power plant, which produces nearly half the impoverished country's
power, before it was allowed to begin membership negotiations with
Brussels in 1999.
"I underline the importance that we attach to the commitments that we
made at the start of accession negociations," said Michael Lee after
talks with Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg.
"I also underline the support which the EU is providing in this
context," he added.
Bulgaria pledged in 1999 to shut down the oldest units at Kozloduy, two
440-Megawatt units, by 2003, while saying it would agree on a date for
closing units 3 and 4 this year. Brussels wanted them closed in 2006,
while Sofia wants to keep them operating until 2008-10.
Under the 1999 accord, Bulgaria was offered 200 million euros in aid
from 2000-2006, although half of this will be confirmed by the European
Commission after an agreement on the closure date for units 3 and 4 at
The Kozloduy plant also has two newer 1,000-Megawatt reactors, which it
agreed to modernize further with 250 million euros in credit from
Kozloduy currently produces 45 percent of the country's energy. In 2001,
Bulgaria exported some seven billion kilowatts (KwH) to its Balkan
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