Greens and Soc Dems reach nuclear power deal

The new government will not propose to shut two nuclear reactors during this term of office, Swedish Radio News reports, but some may have to close as they are not likely to be replaced by new ones.

Speaking to Swedish Radio News, Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven says the country needs a broad agreement that can last, adding the government has a "status quo" way of thinking right now.

The issue of nuclear power was one of the most difficult for the Social Democrats and Greens to agree on in their coalition negotiations, Swedish Radio News reports.

The Social Democrats want to gradually phase out nuclear power in Sweden, as long as it can be replaced by renewable energy sources, while the Greens wanted to move faster, pledging to shut two reactors by 2018.

The deal means that nuclear power generators will have to pay more for their nuclear waste, and stricter security demands will apply, news agency TT reports. State-run Vattenfall, which is the only company that has been looking into building new reactors, is barred from doing so.

Green Party spokesperson Åsa Romson claims that the party has never pushed for a political decision to close the reactors: "The reason we have never pushed for a law to close specific reactors is because then you would need a special law. That means the state would have to pay a lot of money to the energy companies to close reactors that are already unprofitable. We have to make them pay for their own costs", she told TT, adding that reactors may have to shut if they are not to be replaced.

Opposition Liberal Party leader, Jan Björklund, is critical of the proposals.

"I don't see that they have an agreement", he told Swedish Radio News, "they are giving different messages. The red-green energy policies have begun with a meltdown. Åsa Romson says this will mean that reactors will be quickly take off-line, and this is denied by Stefan Löfven. So they have to work out what the energy policies they have presented today actually mean."

Sweden currently has ten operational nuclear reactors, despite a referendum in 1980, where Swedes voted to phase out nuclear power, and a parliament decision that this should be done by 2010.