Christian Democrat (KD) leader Ebba Busch Thor has opposed plans by Sweden's power company Vattenfall to shut down two nuclear reactors at Ringhals and called for handing them over to a "new player" to secure Sweden's electricity production.
"I do not see how we can achieve our climate targets without nuclear power. I love renewable energy, but it is not enough to cover the need for the emission-free electricity, which nuclear power provides," Busch Thor said, as quoted by the tabloid daily Expressen.
The solution, according to Busch Thor, is to keep in operation Ringhals 1 and 2, which account for 8 percent of Sweden's electricity production and are threatened with closure, as state-owned energy company Vattenfall hesitates to run them after 2020 for profitability reasons. Busch Thor challenged Vattenfall CEO Torbjörn Wahlborg, who claimed that continued operation "was not possible under current conditions."
"Profitability has increased, and if Vattenfall does not rethink its decision, then I believe the state should look whether others would like to take over. We can even give away the reactors," Busch Thor said.
The KD leader is perfectly comfortable with the Swedish nuclear fuel repository in Forsmark and dismissed environmental risks, stating that modern-day reactors are safe and cannot be compared with previous generations.
"In Germany and Japan, they are investing in coal power instead, we won't go this way," Busch Thor said.
Among Swedish politicians, Busch Thor's proposal caused strong reactions.
"KD Ebba wants to donate nuclear reactors. Electoral absurdity," Social Minister Annika Strandhäll tweeted.
Nu vill KD Ebba skänka bort kärnkraftsreaktorer. Valrörelse absurd… https://t.co/k3m7WKMfBH— Annika Strandhäll (@strandhall) September 3, 2018
Green Party spokesman Gustav Fridolin compared Busch Thor's proposal to Vattenfall's acquisition of the company Nuon Energy, which was called "Sweden's worst-ever affair."
"Until recently, it was the dumbest deal by a Swedish government, as taxpayers lost a lot of billions, but now Ebba Busch Thor apparently wants to compete with it. It's clear that we should build a renewable energy system instead of the expensive, obsolete and dirty nuclear power," Fridolin said. "This must be some sort of election panic, not serious energy policy. Around the world, countries keep winding down both fossil fuels and nuclear energy," he stressed.
While the Social Democrats and Greens (joined by the Center Party and the Left Party) would like to dismantle nuclear power, the Christian Democrats, the Sweden Democrats and the Liberals are in favor of further developing it.
Sweden has three operational nuclear power plants, with ten operational nuclear reactors, which produce about 35-40 percent of the country's electricity.
Vattenfall is a Swedish power company, wholly owned by the Swedish state. Beyond Sweden, the company is active in Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK.