Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sweden Nuclear Update

Here's more evidence that Sweden is reconsidering its nuclear phase-out:

A survey into attitudes to nuclear power conducted annually by the SOM Institute and published by Svenska Dagbladet shows that 50 percent of Swedes want to keep atomic energy in the long term. According to the report, 33 percent of people questioned wanted to keep using the country'’s ten remaining reactors or to extend their active life.

Some 17 percent of Swedes want nuclear power to be expanded in the future.

The survey represents a shift in attitudes. In 1999 a majority wanted to get rid of nuclear power. Now only one in three Swedes favours this. This puts opposition to nuclear power at its weakest since opinions on the issue were first polled.
For the results of another poll from last November, click here.

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Starvid, Sweden said...

What is most interesting is that 47 % of the supporters of the ruling Social democrat government support nuclear energy use in the long term while only 34 % of them oppose long term use.

Even the supporters of the government oppose the government nuclear phase-out policy.

Can a more profoundly anti-democratic policy be found anywhere in the world?

An interesting graph showing attitudes on nuclear energy split according to party lines can be found here:

Purple means "build new additional reactors".

Green-blue means "replace the current reactors with new ones when they are to be scrapped due to old age, but don't build new reactors except for replacing the old ones".

Yellow means "use the current reactors for their full life time, but don't build any new".

Red means "decomission the current reactors by political edict before they are to be scrapped because of economical or safety factors".

The parties are, from left to right:

M: liberal-conservative
Fp: liberal
C: centrist/farmers a bit neoliberal
Kd: christian democrats

The above four parties constitue the center/right-wing opposition.

S: social democrats. Leads minority government.

V: more or less reformed communists.
Mp: "greens".
These two parties are not a part of the government but support it in parliament.

GreenGOP said...

There's anecdotal evidence of growing support for nuclear plants in the U.S. as well, particularly in struggling small towns eager for new industry and jobs. I'm writing about it today.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that when the Swedes shutdown the Barseback reactors, the country became, for the first time, a net importer of electricity. Is that true? If so, that is kind of bucking the trend (in the wrong way) of countries trying to become more self-sufficient in various forms of energy. And being that about 40% of the country's electrical generating capacity comes from nuclear plants, it seems like a bad move, kind of like cutting your own throat. I got news: wind "power" ain't gonna carry the load (just ask the folks in California)...

Starvid, Sweden said...

anonymus: We have imported power before, but generally we are a power exporter. It depends on the hydrological balance, winter temperature etc.

Sweden uses about 140 TWh of electricity every year. Our wind power potential is 10 TWh.

Go figure.

Anonymous said...

If you have a 140 TWh demand and a 10 TWh potential, then by my ciphering it is clear that wind power, intermittant as it is, won't be able to carry the load. The people in California found this out the hard way. They bought the lies of the environmentalist wackos and trashed perfectly good generators at Rancho Seco and SONGS-1, and the idiots in Oregon threw away Trojan for no good reason, thinking these stupid ideas about "alternate" energy sources were going to "make up" for those they threw away. They ended up with blackouts, shortages and price spikes. Stupid is as stupid does.

Starvid, Sweden said...

While wind power is not the holy grail of energy, one shouldn't dismiss it out of hand.

It has certain uses, especially if the grid has acess to easily adjustable power (like gas, hydro or pumped storage).

Some places have great wind potential. Denmark gets 20 % of their power from wind while other places might not be able to reach even 5 % of power demand.

Wind is a good complement but can never be the baseload power.

Ban coal, gas and oil and then let nuclear and renewables compete for electricity market share.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but, I have to tell you, Denmark isn't exactly my idea of a large country spread over an entire continent, cranking out the kind of industrial might that the US does (or at least used to). We can't let the example of small countries on a compact continent mislead us into thinking that it is a generally applicable case (which you didn't do, but I have seen done by others, right here on this blog).

For the case of Sweden specially, it seems a questionable public policy to throw away a zero-emissions, reliable, economic energy source and dream about replacing it with ones we know up front won't be able to carry the load. That means either importing energy, or falling back on ancient technology like coal and oil burning, which isn't going to get you any credits on the global warming issue.