Swedish industry challenges nuclear phase-out

Association says plan to phase out nuclear power contravenes the constitution

Sweden's main industry association has hit out at a plan to phase out nuclear power starting from next year. The Federation of Swedish Industries (FSI) says that the proposals contravene the national constitution.

Sweden's minority Social Democrat government decided to phase out nuclear power earlier this year, after reaching a political agreement with the Centre Party and Left Party (ENDS Daily 4 February). Nuclear power currently contributes about half of Sweden's electricity. The government is now consulting on a detailed plan, which includes radical changes to the country's energy infrastructure.

As it promised in February, the FSI has written to members of the Swedish parliament warning of adverse economic consequences if the phase-out goes ahead. Yesterday, the association issued a 10-page report challenging the legality of the proposal.

According to the FSI, the plan contravenes the Swedish constitution and the Council of Europe convention on human rights because it is not in the public interest. The association argues that phasing out nuclear power will lead to higher energy prices and more unemployment.

Another criticism levelled at the government is that the compensation it is proposing to pay to nuclear plant operators is too low. The FSI complains particularly about the level proposed for Sydkraft, which owns two plants earmarked for closure by 2001.

The FSI will not have to wait long for an official verdict on its challenge. The government is required to submit legislative proposals to a national law council for approval before it presents them formally to parliament for ratification

Follow Up:
Swedish environment ministry, tel: +46 8 405 1000; Federation of Swedish Industries, tel: +46 8 783 8000.

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