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Former minister Andreas Carlgren (left), the Forsmark nuclear power station, and current minister Åsa Romson, Photo: TT

Nuclear industry dodges financial responsibilites

Five years after the promise was made, and despite a Green Party Environment Minister in government, the Swedish nuclear energy industry will still not have to take full financial responsibility for a disaster any time soon.

The promise the industry would be forced to cover its own costs was originally made under the previous center-right government in 2009 by then-Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren. “It will no longer be possible, under any circumstances, for the nuclear energy industry to crawl onto the lap of the state and ask for taxpayers’ money” he told parliament. But his government never acted, waiting for other EU countries to follow an agreement raising the industry’s financial responsibility.

Now the new Environment Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Åsa Romson of the Green Party, isn’t ready for Sweden to move ahead of the rest of the EU either. But her government is raising the tax on nuclear power and the fees charged for their wastes.

She tells Swedish Radio News that even the higher level of insurance the EU wants to impose, SEK 12 billion, would never cover the costs of a nuclear disaster. “If nuclear power had to cover their full damage costs, which in Japan after the Fukushima accident was around SEK 1000 billion, we’d close all the reactors tomorrow,” she says. “Those type of costs no nuclear power company could cover.”

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