Nuclear debate

Guteland Takes on Nuclear Energy

Jytte Guteland, head of the Social Democrats’ youth organisation (SSU) rails against her party and the trade union IF Metall for their pro-nuclear stance, suggesting instead that Sweden follow Germany's example and take a lead in abolishing nuclear power.

Jytte Guteland, head of the Social Democrats’ youth organisation (SSU) wants her party to lead the effort to phase out nuclear energy. Looking to Germany as an example, she wants Sweden to abolish nuclear energy and focus on research for renewable sources.

In Saturday’s Dagens Nyheter, Guteland writes, “When a large industrial nation like Germany wants to convert and modernize, Sweden should understand that it risks getting left behind by not following suit. Dismantling nuclear power in Sweden would give rise to new technology, create new jobs and contribute to a safer, more sustainable society.”

Germany’s recent decision to abolish nuclear energy in the country by 2022 straddled party lines there.

Further, Guteland appeals to IF Metall, which she calls the most pro-nuclear of 14 trade unions in Landskapsorganisationen (LO) – the central organisation – to follow the line of its German counterpart IG Metall and get on board the an anti-nuclear agenda.

“IF Metall is short-sighted when it holds on to this dying form of energy…,” she writes.

But according to Stefan Löfven, chairman of IF Metall, there are no signs of nuclear energy being phased out in Sweden soon, reports Swedish Radio News.

On the contrary, he says it’s naïve to think that wind power, for example, can replace nuclear energy.

“On a freezing cold winter day in Sweden the wind is completely still, and then you have to rely on another source of energy,” he told Swedish Radio News, adding that in the short term Germany’s decision to stop using nuclear energy will mean using more fossil fuels.

“That goes against the environmental policy we would like to see,” Löfven says.  

Earlier, Håkan Juholt, chairman of the Social Democratic Party, dismissed the Environmental Party’s proposal to shut two nuclear energy plants before the election in 2014, Swedish Radio News reports.

The proposal came in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan.

Juholt made clear that “temporary opinions or events” should not steer energy policy.

Swedish Radio News writes that this spring Juholt told TT: “My view of nuclear power has not changed because of the melt-down in Japan.”