Germans miss point with nuclear shutdown date: Sweden

Reuters News
Posted: May 30, 2011 8:18 AM

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Setting a date to shut down Germany's nuclear power stations is the wrong approach by the country and it should instead focus on boosting the use of renewable energy, Sweden said on Monday.

Germany's coalition government has decided to keep permanently shut the country's eight oldest reactors and the rest by 2022 in response to Japan's Fukushima disaster. The decision was a dramatic policy reversal.

Sweden's state-owned power group Vattenfall operates two of the nuclear plants, though these have been offline since 2007. It is a minority holder in a third plant.

"The important thing is not the year nuclear power stops, the important thing is to build out renewable energy so that one reduces dependency on nuclear power and climate emissions," Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren told public radio.

He said Germany had lagged behind in promoting renewable energy and that such a stance led "to a very fitful energy policy" which was not good for a country.

"In Sweden we have done all we can to avoid this," he said.

Germany would also have to import nuclear power from France and boost its reliance on power from fossil fuel, he said.

"They put themselves at risk of not meeting the double challenge we have to reduce dependency on nuclear power and to reduce climate emissions," he added.

Carlgren said he would not comment on whether Vattenfall faced any losses from the German decision and that it was up to Vattenfall to make that call first.

Vattenfall has said it will not comment until the German government takes the formal shutdown decision on June 6.

(Reporting by Patrick Lannin; editing by James Jukwey)