IEA questions Swedish nuclear phase-out plans

Massive growth in renewables would be required, government should accept more natural gas

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has implicitly criticised Sweden's nuclear phase-out plans in a review of the country's energy policies. Huge increases in renewable power generation will be needed to replace even single nuclear reactors, the IEA warns, unless the government allows further development of natural gas to make up for lost nuclear capacity.

After shutting a first nuclear reactor last year, Sweden has delayed and then retabled closure of a second before 2003 (ENDS Daily 4 October), while maintaining a condition that new renewables capacity should replace its electricity output. In view of this condition, the IEA concludes, no further nuclear closures after the second Barsebäck reactor are likely in Sweden before 2010.

Sweden should drop its opposition to development of natural gas as an alternative to nuclear power, even though this would raise greenhouse gas emissions, the IEA concludes. "It will not be possible to ensure that nuclear power is replaced by renewable sources," it says, "unless the replacement sources of power are genuinely competitive".

Follow Up:
IEA, tel: +33 1 40 57 65 51, a press release and further information on "Energy Policies of IEA Countries - {Sweden}".

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