Change to climate goal language boosts Sweden’s nuclear prospects

July 5, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Sweden’s parliament, the Riksdag, recently endorsed a proposal in the government’s spring amending budget to change the country’s 2040 climate goal of 100 percent renewable electricity production to 100 percent fossil fuel–free electricity production.


The June 20 vote was welcome news for Sweden’s current center-right government, which has announced some ambitious plans for nuclear. Last October, in a speech before the Riksdag, newly elected prime minister Ulf Kristersson declared, “The conditions for maintaining, developing, and expanding Swedish nuclear power will be radically improved, so as to meet the massive need for clean Swedish electricity for both households and the green transition. At a later date, the government will propose credit guarantees for new construction of Swedish nuclear power plants, alongside legislative amendments to enable new nuclear power production via shorter permit processes and administrative fast tracks, for example. The prohibition of new reactors in new locations and of more than 10 simultaneously active reactors will be removed from the Swedish Environmental Code. [Swedish state–owned energy company] Vattenfall will receive owner directives to commence planning and procurement of new Swedish nuclear power facilities.”

Currently, Sweden is home to six reactors at three operating nuclear power facilities: Vattenfall’s three-unit Forsmark and two-unit Ringhals, and OKG Aktiebolag’s single-unit Oskarshamn.

In March, citing a SOM Institute at Gothenburg University survey, Bloomberg reported record high support in Sweden for nuclear—56 percent, up from 42 percent a year earlier. (In 2009, Sweden reversed a nearly three-decade-long nuclear energy phase-out policy.)

In case you missed it: In June 2022, Vattenfall initiated a study to look into the feasibility of building at least two small modular reactors adjacent to its Ringhals plant. According to the company, there is a need for more electricity generation in southern Sweden, which is why the study is focusing on “the southern bidding zones, primarily close to Ringhals.” Work on the study is expected to be completed by the end of this year or early 2024.

Later that year, energy company Fortum, operator of Finland’s Loviisa nuclear plant, announced the launch of a similar study to explore the potential for new nuclear construction, with a focus on Finland and Sweden. The utility said it would examine commercial, technological, and societal conditions for both conventional large reactors and small modular reactors.

And just last month, Westinghouse Electric Company announced the signing of memoranda of understanding with Fortum to investigate the possibility of developing and deploying AP1000 and AP300 reactor projects in the two Nordic nations.

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