Swedish support for nuclear continues to grow, poll shows

26 November 2019

As many as 78% of people surveyed in Sweden - up from 71% in 2017 - strongly support nuclear energy, 43% are open to the construction of new nuclear power plants, and 35% would like to continue using the country's reactors for their full operating lives, a survey by Novus and published by Analysgruppen shows. In contrast, only 11% of those polled are opposed to nuclear power.

Forsmark nuclear power plant (Image: Vattenfall)

The Swedish government plans to phase out all eight nuclear reactors by 2040, but polling indicates this policy does not reflect public opinion. Analysgruppen has surveyed Swedish attitudes towards nuclear power since 1997. Sweden’s three nuclear power plants produce about 40% of its electricity.

"From hovering steadily around 20% over the years, we see a significant change in this year's survey: the proportion that wants to decommission nuclear power is down to a record low of 11%," Uppsala University researcher and member of Analysgruppen Mattias Lantz said. The result reflects the fact that there is broad consensus now, he added, that nuclear power has minimal impact on the climate.

The surveys have been conducted through web-based interviews with Novus's randomly selected panel. A total of 1027 people aged 18-79 responded to the latest survey which was conducted between 24 and 30 October. The participation rate was 54%.

In 1980, the Swedish government decided to phase out nuclear power, but in June 2010 its parliament voted to repeal this policy. The country's 1997 energy policy allowed 10 reactors to operate longer than envisaged by the 1980 phase-out policy, but also resulted in the premature closure of a two-unit plant. Some 1600 MWe was subsequently added in uprates to the remaining 10 reactors. In 2015 decisions were made to close four older reactors by 2020, removing 2.7 GWe net.

The two boiling water reactors at Barsebäck, about 30 km from Malmö in southern Sweden, shut down in November 1999 and May 2005, respectively. EOn - the major shareholder in OKG - decided in October 2015 that Oskarshamn 1 and 2 would be shut down permanently.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News