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The Swedish Government has unveiled a roadmap outlining its goals and establishing enduring conditions for the development of new nuclear power in the country. It notes that stable access to fossil-free electricity at competitive prices is an important prerequisite for Sweden's competitiveness. At the same time, electricity generation essentially needs to be doubled within 25 years to meet demand.

The roadmap includes an in-depth agreement on four points:

The Government will appoint a nuclear coordinator to support the work of removing obstacles, facilitating and promoting new nuclear power. In addition, the coordinator will identify the need for supplementary measures. “Implementing the roadmap requires broad collaboration with relevant stakeholders. An important role for the coordinator is therefore to bring together all interested parties in the work to get a clear direction for effective development.”The state's financial responsibility will be clarified through a risk-sharing model. At present, the expansion of nuclear power is avenged by risk taking over long periods of time. The government has already proposed the introduction of state credit guarantees for SEK400bn ($38bn) for nuclear power. However, the Government estimates that state credit guarantees alone will not suffice to stimulate new production. In order to strengthen the conditions and provide additional incentives to invest in nuclear power, an investigator must propose a risk-sharing and financing model where the state shares the risk.The new policy will enable new nuclear power with a total power of at least 2,500 MWe to be in place by 2035. The government has already taken several measures to remove obstacles and facilitate the establishment of new nuclear power, which is now supplemented by more measures in the roadmap.Given the long-term needs of fossil-free electricity until 2045, an expansion is needed that could, for example, correspond to 10 new large-scale reactors. The exact amount and type of reactors needed depends on several things, including the need and rate of expansion in the electricity system, technological development, and where new consumption and production is located in the country.

“We are now delivering a string of decisions to pave the way for new nuclear power,” said Energy & Industry Minister Ebba Busch. “Sweden is laying the foundations to become a leading nuclear power nation again and a power factor for the green transition in the West.”

Labour Market & Integration Minister Johan Persson said to achieve net zero, Sweden needs to produce as much clean electricity as possible. “New nuclear power will play a key role. With the policy we are presenting now, we will have new nuclear power in place corresponding to two full-scale reactors by 2035 at the latest.”

Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson said new nuclear power is necessary for a stable and reliable energy system, for both consumers and business. “It is therefore natural that the state will have to take a major economic role in terms of expansion. Recent years have shown how expensive it is to not build nuclear power.”

Industry Committee Chairman Tobias Andersson said industrial renaissance requires a nuclear power renaissance. He noted that the first steps had been taken “and now we are moving from walking to sprinting”. The nuclear power programme “is comprehensive and aims to untangle the knots that may exist and to clear the arena for new nuclear power plants”.

In October 2022, Sweden's incoming centre-right coalition government adopted a positive position on nuclear energy, with the Christian Democrats, the Liberals, the Moderates and the Sweden Democrats issuing a written agreement known as the Tidö Agreement. It said the energy policy goal is "changed from 100% renewable to 100% fossil-free". The agreement assumed electricity demand of at least 300 TWh in 2045, double the current demand. It also recommended that necessary regulations should be developed to create the conditions for the construction and operation of small modular reactors (SMRs) in Sweden. In addition, the permitting process for NPPs should be shortened.

This was followed in January this year by a formal proposal by Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Climate & Environment Minister Romina Pourmokhtari to amend legislation on nuclear power. This sought to cancel the current law limiting to 10 the number of reactors in operation, as well as to allow reactors to be built on new sites, rather than only on existing sites. Following a three-month consultation, the government in September made a final decision to introduce the bill to parliament. The changes to the law should into force on 1 January 2024.

 

Image (L-R): Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson, Labour Market and Integration Minister Johan Pehrson, Energy and Business Minister Ebba Busch and the chairman of the Business Committee Tobias Andersson present Sweden's nuclear roadmap (courtesy of regeringen.se)

Date: Wednesday, 22 November 2023
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newssweden-launches-roadmap-for-new-nuclear-power-development-11315198