M wants to give priority to new nuclear power: “Others must take a back seat”

The Moderates (M) want to introduce a “fast track” for new nuclear power. “No government can abdicate from such a fundamental task as energy supply,” says party leader Ulf Kristersson.

Electricity prices have hit a record in August. M claims that the problem is a direct consequence of the decommissioning of nuclear power and the energy policy pursued by the current government.

– If we had had the four reactors that were shut down during this government’s time, we would not have had these prices, says the party’s energy policy spokesperson Carl-Oskar Bohlin at a press conference.

At the same time, experts point out that the war in Ukraine has driven up electricity prices.

Took more than 16 years

M’s main solution is to build more nuclear power. Experts have pointed out that it may take a long time before new reactors can be in place. In Finland, a third reactor at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant is not yet in commercial operation – despite construction going on for more than 16 years.

– If the decisions are made quickly, most of the assessors say that you can have new nuclear power in Sweden in eight to ten years’ time. That’s roughly what new large-scale wind power takes, says Ulf Kristersson.

With “a battery of measures”, M wants to shorten the permit process for new nuclear power. According to the Environmental Code, up to six different authorities may bring an action to protect environmental interests in cases before the land and environmental courts.

Instead, the party wants an authority to take full responsibility.

– We need to build new nuclear power, but it also needs to go faster, says Carl-Oskar Bohlin.

Want to give fast track

Furthermore, they want to introduce a new rule in the environmental code which means that permit cases relating to the construction of new nuclear power must be treated with priority, a so-called “fast track”.

– This means that other cases have to take a back seat, but we believe that this is such a socially important purpose that it must be given priority.

M also wants to push extra funds to the land and environmental courts so that they can handle the applications as quickly as possible, as well as remove today’s application fee of SEK 100 million for new nuclear power reactors.

In addition, M wants to allow new nuclear power in more places than today, but in a first step in the places where the plants already stand. The party also envisions that small modular reactors, so-called SMRs, can be built in connection with industry in need of a lot of electricity.

Bohlin estimates that the 400 billion in credit guarantees that M wants to give nuclear power should be enough for about ten normal-sized nuclear power reactors, or about 30 SMR units.

Says “blank no”

An argument put forward in the debate about nuclear power is about how nuclear power plants were used and attacked during the war in Ukraine. War is terrible and what Russia is doing is insane, but that is why M wants to strengthen the Swedish defense and quickly join NATO, says Ulf Kristersson.

– We cannot forgo a good energy supply because we believe that a future attacker would also do that damage in our country.

Nuclear power takes time to build and, if the process starts now, will become an issue for several future governments. However, Ulf Kristersson is skeptical about sitting down with other parties on the left to discuss energy policy.

– It is always the Social Democrats’ dream, new talks.

– I flatly say no to discussing the future of nuclear power with parties that want to phase out nuclear power. But if parties say that we should keep nuclear power and build a new one, then there is huge scope for such talks, says Kristersson.

The government commissions SMR

As if by chance, the government published its mission to the Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) on small and modular reactors on the same day that the Moderates came out with their nuclear power proposals.

Already at the end of June, Environment Minister Annika Strandhäll and Energy Minister Khashayar Farmanbar announced that the government would give SSM such a task. But the details have been delayed.

It now appears that SSM must review what development of the regulatory framework is needed so that there is a prerequisite for using both existing and future nuclear power.

The government wants the authority to begin the work of drawing up regulations for new reactor technology such as small modular reactors, as well as analyze the conditions for approval of such reactors.

“Building new nuclear power takes time”

The intention of SMR is for reactor parts to be serially produced in a factory and then assembled on site. Through a modular design, several units can be combined together to the desired plant size.

The SMR proponents also hope that it will be easy to grant permission for the reactor type, as a concept that is approved can then be built in several locations.

The government wants SSM to include this in its analysis, as well as how international harmonization of the regulations can affect the permit examination.

With regard to the existing nuclear power, the government wants SSM to identify the need for the development of regulations or other measures. “Building new nuclear power takes time and it is important that there are conditions for continuing to use existing nuclear power at its full capacity and throughout its lifetime,” writes the Ministry of the Environment.

SSM must report part of the assignment on 28 February 2023 and the rest by 31 July 2023 at the latest.

Source: Nyteknik – Senaste nytt by www.nyteknik.se.

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