Sweden to Reassess Nuclear Plants

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The nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan has made Swedish people quite worried. Nuclear safety is being hotly discussed and debated around the country. Our Stockholm correspondent has more.

The nuclear disasters in Japan have triggered heated discussion in Sweden on the issue of nuclear safety.

It's being talked about and argued on TV, newspapers and blogs.

Sweden still has nuclear radiation in its northern regions from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union.

In the early seventies Sweden got it first commercial nuclear reactors.

Then came the U.S. nuclear accident in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1979.

Sweden held a referendum that resulted in the decision that its nuclear plants should be kept but gradually phased out by 2010.

That decision has been changed and the expansion of Sweden's nuclear fleet has even been discussed - until recently, when the Fukushima nuclear disaster spread over the news.

Now everything has changed again.

[Andreas Carlgren, Minister for the Environment]:
“Well I think people are rightly very bothered. We will not have any expansion. The old ones will be phased out and we will instead have one or some new reactors.”

Sweden has 10 reactors in commercial operation.

They are all from the seventies and early eighties.

Some of them have just been upgraded to produce more electricity. The production of electricity is now about fifty percent from nuclear power.

[Rebecka Carlsson, Green Party]:
“Sweden has ten power plants so of course everyone is thinking this could also happen here. The reactors in Japan are the same ones that are used here in Sweden. We have majority among men and females to change to renewable energy after what happened.”

Work to save the nuclear plants in Fukushima is still going on, and it’s likely that Sweden and other nuclear..