Thursday, February 5, 2009

Swedes Go Nuclear

The NYT reports:

The Swedish government on Thursday proposed refreshing its fleet of nuclear reactors, making the Scandinavian nation the latest to consider putting the technology in the forefront of its future energy plans.

Swedes voted nearly three decades ago to phase out f nuclear power by 2010. But 10 of the country’s 12 reactors still are operating and public opinion has become more favorable toward the technology.

Nuclear reactors account for half of the electricity produced in Sweden. The new reactors are likely to be more powerful than existing units and that could mean that Sweden could increase its nuclear capacity.

Other parts of Europe also have signaled a renewed interest in nuclear energy as concerns grow over energy security and
climate change and as worries about safety risks diminish. Many of restrictions on nuclear power in Europe were imposed after accidents at Three Mile Island in the United States in 1979 and at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union in 1986.

Last year, the British government invited companies to build new reactors on existing sites. France, which already generates more than 80 percent of its electricity through nuclear power, plans to expand its installations. Finland is building a reactor scheduled to open early in the next decade that is expected to become the most powerful reactor in commercial operation.

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