The Swedish government has announced that it will shut down one of this country’s 11 nuclear reactors in 2005, as part of a program to scale back its dependency on nuclear power.
Minister for Industry and Trade Leif Pagrotsky says preparations for the shutdown of the second reactor at the Barsebäck power plant on Sweden’s southwestern coast will begin immediately. The power plants other reactor was shut down in 1999.
Pagrotsky made the announcement Monday after an expert appointed by the government failed to strike a deal with the pro-nuclear power industry on closing atomic plants, which produce half of Sweden’s electricity. The power industry here does not want to abandon atomic energy, but Sweden voted in a 1980 referendum to phase it out.
Although experts are predicting a Nordic rise in electricity prices, the government points to a new natural gas pipeline being planned between Sweden and Germany and an increased capacity to import electricity from Finland, which they say should replace most of the energy production shortfall caused by the nuclear phase-out.