Sweden is shifting its clean-energy proposals toward nuclear-energy production and subsidization.
- On June 20, the right-leaning coalition of the Swedish Parliament approved a change to the country’s energy transition, Reuters reports.
- The measures shift the country’s target from “100% fossil-free” electricity to “100% renewable,” attempting to meet growing energy demands and proposed net-zero emissions through nuclear.
- The government will offer loans and subsidies to produce new reactors while reducing restrictions on CO2-emitting petrol and diesel gasoline and is considering prolonging subsidies for coal power plants.
- These proposals have drawn scrutiny from anti-nuclear activists and European Union politicians, who argue the technology is dangerous and that Sweden could miss its net-zero reduction goals.
Why It’s Important
Last month’s legislative change is a significant step toward nuclear for Sweden, which was previously dedicated to phasing out nuclear energy for the past four decades. In January, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told reporters that his government was working to allow more nuclear development to take place. “We are now changing the legislation, making it possible to build more reactors in more places than is possible today.”
Kristersson’s center-right leadership took power following the September 2022 elections, thanks to assistance from the far-right Swedish Democrats and a coalition of center-right parties, The Associated Press reports.
“This creates the conditions for nuclear power. We need more electricity production, we need clean electricity, and we need a stable energy system,” Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson told parliament last month.
Backing Up A Bit
The move toward nuclear comes admit a global push for net-zero energy proposals and ongoing anti-nuclear sentiments in Europe coming to fruition. In April, Germany closed the final three of its nuclear power plants following decades of anti-nuclear activists arguing that the technology is dangerous. Activists celebrated the victory and argued that the cost of building nuclear technology should be reinvested into other clean energy solutions.
Opinions about nuclear energy have gradually shifted in its favor as the global economy pushes towards totally phasing out fossil fuels over the next three decades. Shy of extremely rare cases like the Chornobyl disaster and the Fukushima meltdown, nuclear energy is considered to be one of the safest energy sources in the world, producing almost no carbon emissions and already being widely available.
Countries like England and Finland have already explored expanding nuclear power, while the U.S. has committed to extending the lifespans of its existing reactors for the foreseeable future. Charles Oppenheimer, the grandson of one of the creators of the atomic bomb, is a public advocate of nuclear power and believes it can save mankind.