June 27, 2010
Sweden Lifts New Nuclear Reactor Ban

The Swedes have decided that the case for more nuclear power is too strong to ignore.

Sweden’s parliament on Thursday overturned a 30-year-old ban on new nuclear reactors, adding to the renewed momentum behind atomic power in Europe as countries try to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

The left-of-center party that is now out of power vows to reverse this decision if elected. The proposal involves replacing the existing aging reactors with new reactors at the same sites. Currently about half of Sweden's electricity comes from nuclear power.

Northern Europe is in a difficult position given the desire to cut usage of fossil fuels. The winters are too long and dark for solar power to play a big role. The northern countries have peak electric power demand in winter, not summer. At the same time, wind power by itself can't replace fossil fuels. So that brings nuclear power back into the picture.

Nuclear power is definitely looking up in Scandinavia. Finland, undeterred by a few year delay and a 2.7 euro cost overrun on the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor is nearing a decision to build 2 more nuclear reactors. One wonders what the negotiated prices will be on those reactors. Does Areva think it can build Olkiluoto 4 for less than it is costing to build Olkiluoto 3?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 June 27 06:24 PM  Energy Nuclear


Comments
iconoclast said at June 28, 2010 12:28 AM:

What is it about nuclear power that drives lefties so crazy? Is it because it is a proven and safe source of power and a clean alternative to fossil fuels? Whatever it is, their obstinate opposition to nuclear power is another demonstration of their unfitness for political responsibility.

Chris T said at June 28, 2010 11:32 AM:

One benefit of AGW is the separating of the pragmatic environmentalists from those who just despise industrial civilization.

Mike said at June 28, 2010 3:09 PM:

I try to imagine the nuclear equivalent of the Gulf Oil spill.

Not good.

And I support nuclear power in principle.

Chris T said at June 28, 2010 3:49 PM:

One has to evaluate the odds of an event happening. If we were to never attempt things based on what *might* happen to us, we would build a bunker and never leave.

For whatever reason we're content with thousands of coal related deaths per year, but terrified of a power source that has killed 0 people in the United States. That should tell you something about how good our risk assessment is.

Scott said at June 29, 2010 11:21 AM:

The environmental left has appealed to the luddites and scientifically illiterate for decades. While this group is not the sole component of the environmental movement, they are a very large and vocal part of it. These folks despise anything evening hinting at modernity, or for that matter, anything more advanced than 17th century, and reflexively reject any alternatives that don't involve hairshirts and a return to peasantry. Nuclear power offers a way to sustain the high-energy, high-density society that they loathe...

Take a look at Bill McKibben's latest drivel, you will get the perfect image of this sort...

jdm said at June 30, 2010 11:42 AM:

we would build a bunker and never leave.

Someone might get harmed building it tho' ;-)

Mike H said at June 30, 2010 11:44 AM:

Unfortunately, whatever progress is made in Sweden will be wiped out as soon as the political winds change in 5 or 10 years.

Bob said at June 30, 2010 12:16 PM:

I try to imagine the nuclear equivalent of the Gulf Oil spill.

That is why we need to develop thorium reactors. This equivalency not only goes away, but we remove the byproducts (radioactive waste, weaponizable isotopes that are a proliferation risk). Thorium is plentiful, easy to separate from base ore to a fissile state, more efficent than other fission reactions, can be used to consume material at risk for proliferation, is inherently safer (requiring less expensive safety redundancies), and could readily be offered to rogue states in lieu of them developing potential breeder reactors. Thorium is pure win.

richard40 said at June 30, 2010 12:44 PM:

The Nuclear equivalent to the Gulf oil spill already happened, at the Chernoble reactor in the old USSR. It was pretty bad. But the old soviet Safety standards were far worse than those of BP, and the reactor was an old design that was much less safe (ex: it had no containment building over the reactor). I doubt that such a thing could happen in the USA. Our safety standards are much better, and the newer reactor designs are much safer. And as already stated, the Thorium reactor is even safer. Even the beloved wind alternative has safety issues, from the effect on wildlife and weather of covering hundreds of square miles of land with wind farms (required because of their much lower power per acre of ground ratio), and toxic wastes produced when you manufacture the wind turbines.

As another poster said, support for Nuclear Power is a good way to seperate real environmentalists that have a brain, and are really concerned about helping the environment, vs raging anti capitalist lefties, disguising their socialist agenda under a mask of environmentalism.

Lefty said at June 30, 2010 1:27 PM:

Nuclear power is unacceptable, and for that matter so is fire and farming. We all need to go back to living in the dark and cold, near starvation. Only then will Gaia forgive us.

wGraves said at June 30, 2010 1:31 PM:

Don't look now, but you are living in a cosmic ray field of about 1.5 REM per year. If you fly a lot, it's higher. The reason that the Earth's interior is molten is an ongoing nuclear chain reaction in the core. Maybe the lefties should just find a new planet? Oh, wait, they canceled the space program. How about living in a bunker? Oh yeah, Radon, not a good idea. A stiff drink is probably your best option.

DirtCrashr said at June 30, 2010 1:40 PM:

The Environmental Left is already building an ideological bunker for the rest of us - while they drive coal-powered cars that emit toxic levels of Smug.

Scrib said at June 30, 2010 1:49 PM:

we would build a bunker and never leave.

Someone might get harmed building it tho' ;-)

Plus, it might collapse on you. I mean, the chance is one-in-a-whatever, but it could happen!

Roscoe said at June 30, 2010 2:05 PM:

Mike:

With respect to oil spills, the point is that there are tradeoffs. Every power source comes with its own health, safety and environmental costs. Look at coal, which is dirty to burn, rips up huge chunks of landscape getting it out of the ground, and kills people every year in mining accidents We have to get our power from somewhere, and historically nuclear is the cleanest and safest alternative.

Greg said at June 30, 2010 2:11 PM:

The progressives and environmentalists who are so strongly opposed to nuclear power don't seem to be at all bothered by the prospect of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Apparently they're more comfortable with having extremist, apocalyptic, religious fanatics armed with nuclear weapons than they are with peaceful Scandinavians operating nuclear power plants.

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