Majority sees role for nuclear in reaching climate goals
According to the poll, 46% of respondents wanted to continue using nuclear power and, if necessary, build new reactor units, 31% said they agreed with using existing nuclear plants, but did not want new-build, and 14% wanted an earlier phaseout of nuclear power.
The poll was conducted in May 2021 by Novus for Analysgruppen, a network of experts and researchers from industry and academia. Analysgruppen has followed opinions about nuclear power in Sweden since 1997.
The poll showed that 57% of participants recognised nuclear “partly or fully” as a tool for reaching Sweden’s climate target, while 21% said it did not make any difference.
“The interest for energy politics has been low among young people, but the last two years we have seen a slight change”, said Viktor Wemminger, a researcher at Novus.
“From a low level, the fraction that says that energy politics is an important issue has almost doubled from 10% to 18% among those who get to vote for the first time in 2022. The environment and the climate challenge, health care, and education are the issues that the first-time voters think are the most important”, he said.
Poll participants in the age group between 18-29 years were 37% in favour of new-build, 34% for continuing operation of the existing reactor fleet only, and 10% for a nuclear phaseout. The number of undecided respondents in this age group was almost double of that for the poll average.
Sweden now has six commercial reactors in operation at three nuclear stations: two at Ringhals, three at Forsmark and one at Oskarshamn. In January 2021, Ringhals-1 became the fourth commercial nuclear reactor to close in five years. The others were Ringhals-2, Oskarhamn-1 and Oskarhamn-2.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, nuclear generated about 30% of the country’s electricity in 2020, down from 34% in 2019.