Sweden paves way for new nuclear capacity by dropping 100% renewables target


Photo: Vattenfall


June 26, 2023






June 26, 2023





Sweden has changed its electricity mix target from “100% renewable” to “100% fossil-free,” paving the way for new nuclear reactors to be built, news agencies reported. Sweden is among the large group of European Union (EU) countries that have joined France’s informal pro-nuclear bloc.

Swedish Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson has told the parliament that this “creates conditions for nuclear power,” adding that the country “needs clean electricity and a stable energy system.”

New nuclear reactors seem necessary for reaching net zero by 2045

Sweden decided to phase out nuclear power 40 years ago, but new capacities now seem necessary for meeting the country’s expected doubling of annual electricity demand, to some 300 TWh by 2040, as well as its target to reach net zero emissions by 2045.

In this way, the country is making a similar U-turn as Italy, which rejected the return to nuclear power at a referendum in 2011, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, but now has plans to build new reactors.

Sweden has now made a U-turn on nuclear similar to Italy’s

Sweden’s state-owned power and heat utility Vattenfall is considering building at least two small modular reactors (SMR) and extending the life of existing reactors, according to reports.

Currently, around 98% of electricity in Sweden is generated from hydropower, nuclear energy, and wind.

Romania, Bulgaria also plan new nuclear capacity, as Germany stays adamant

Nuclear power is making a comeback in Southeastern Europe as well, with Bulgaria announcing a new unit at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant and Romania’s state-owned Nuclearelectrica working on a project to install SMRs.

Germany, on the other hand, refused to reconsider the shutdown of its last reactors, while Austria and Luxembourg fiercely oppose nuclear power as well.

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