Sweden’s new government to begin “immediate work” on nuclear expansion

The Ringhals nuclear power plant 30km south of Gothenburg (Tubaist/CC BY-SA 3.0)
The newly installed government of Sweden will tell state-owned utility Vattenfall to build more nuclear reactors, energy news provider Montel reports.

The government is made up of a coalition of three centre-right parties, who have finally hammered out an agreement after scoring a narrow victory in the 11 September general election.

The administration, which will be led by Ulf Kristersson of the Moderate Party, announced its “agreement for Sweden” policy platform on Friday. This will include a shift from renewable energy to nuclear, as well as cuts to social security and foreign aid, and increased penalties for serious crime.

Sweden presently has six reactors at three nuclear power stations: Forsmark, Oskarshamn and Ringhals. The government said Vattenfall would “immediately start planning new reactors for Ringhals and other suitable locations to improve the country’s energy balance”.

It added that it would make regulatory changes to simplify the approval process for reactors, such as fast-tracking designs that have been approved in other EU countries.

It will also investigate whether Ringhals’ reactors 1 and 2 can be reopened. These entered service in the mid-seventies and were shut down in 2019 and 2020.

In June, Vattenfall said it had begun a feasibility study on building two small modular reactors at Ringhals to meet electricity demand, which is expected to increase rapidly over the next few decades. This is expected to be complete by 2024 at the latest.

The three centre-right parties together form a minority, but will have the support of the far-right Sweden Democrats, now the second largest party in the country after the Social Democrats with 73 deputies in the Riksdag. 

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