Nuclear issue clouds rosy Swedish energy review

Friday, May 30, 2008

The latest review of Sweden's energy policy by the International energy agency (IEA) congratulates the government for "continued outstanding progress during the last four years" but regrets that "the outlook for nuclear energy remains a major energy policy question, almost three decades after the 1980 popular vote to phase it out".

Reiterating criticisms set out in the last review, the agency argues that a phase-out would be "challenging" because almost half of the country's electricity is still nuclear-generated and "in the post-Kyoto period, targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are likely to be stricter than at present." Against this background, "it is hard to see how phasing out nuclear energy could serve Sweden's broader energy policy goals."

Sweden is "one of the leading IEA countries in the use of renewable energy" and has a "long tradition of ambitious and successful policies to improve energy efficiency", IEA head Nobuo Tanaka said on
Wednesday. Swedish carbon dioxide emissions per capita and per unit of GDP are low compared to the other IEA countries thanks to "efficient and low-carbon space heating, and virtually carbon-free
electricity generation", he said.

IEA press release and report summar.

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