Sweden to Construct 10 Nuclear Reactors by 2045
Sweden has announced its intention to triple its nuclear energy capacity over the coming decades in order to meet a sharp rise in electricity demand.
According to a report by Bloomberg, Romina Pourmokhtari, the Minister for Climate and Energy of the country, stated that a minimum of 10 new conventional reactors must be built by 2045. Presently, Sweden operates six reactors.
The country seeks all available new energy capacity it can acquire as demand is expected to double in the next several decades due to the electrification of industries and transportation. The construction of new nuclear power plants forms a cornerstone of the government's strategy to expand electricity production.
In the upcoming autumn, the Cabinet of Ministers will propose a comprehensive new strategy aimed at increasing supplies to meet the country's growing energy needs. Following a series of initiatives designed to boost investments in nuclear energy, the Swedish parliament endorsed a new goal last year, setting a target for all electricity production to be fossil fuel-free by 2040 – a shift from the previous wording, which focused solely on renewable energy sources. This change is intended to further incentivize nuclear projects.
Negative sentiment towards nuclear technology in Sweden began with the construction of its first commercial reactor in 1972. Mass opposition escalated in the subsequent years, culminating in a 1980 referendum that called for legislators to decommission reactors. However, this never came to fruition, and on the eve of last year's elections, the winning centre-right coalition made nuclear revitalization a central promise of their campaign.
The country's need for electricity will continue to surge over the next several decades, as everything from heavy industries to transportation sectors becomes electrified. Meanwhile, public support for new nuclear facilities has grown, with a record-high 56% of respondents expressing a willingness to continue utilizing nuclear technology, according to the annual survey by the SOM Institute at the University of Gothenburg.
State-owned company Vattenfall AB and Finnish firm Fortum Oyj are exploring the creation of small modular reactors that could be operational sometime in the first half of the next decade. However, German energy company Uniper SE, which operates Sweden's largest reactor, dealt a blow to the government's ambitions earlier this month by announcing its lack of plans for further investments in the technology.
As reported by The Gaze, Romania's state nuclear operator Nuclearelectrica is in negotiations with Lavalin, the owner of CANDU reactor technology, regarding the construction of two nuclear reactors at a cost of $7 billion.