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Sweden scraps nuclear reactor ban

THE Swedish government yesterday agreed to scrap a ban on building new nuclear reactors, three decades after deciding to phase out atomic power.

Leaders for the center-right coalition government said new reactors were needed to help fight climate change and secure the nation's energy supply amid growing support for nuclear energy in the country.

Law makers decided after a 1980 referendum to phase out nuclear power, but only two of the Scandinavian nation's 12 reactors have been closed. The government's plan, which needs approval from parliament, calls for new reactors to be built at existing plants to replace the 10 operational reactors when they are taken out of service.

If the plan is approved, Sweden would join a growing list of countries rethinking nuclear power as a source of energy amid concerns over global warming and the reliability of energy suppliers. Britain, France and Poland are planning new reactors and Finland is currently building Europe's first new atomic plant in over a decade.

Swedish public opinion polls have shown growing support for nuclear energy in recent years because of the lack of alternatives to replace the nuclear plants, which supply about 50 percent of Sweden's electricity.

The agreement was made possible after a compromise by the Center Party.

"I'm doing this for the sake of my children and grandchildren," Center Party leader Maud Olofsson said. "I can live with the fact that nuclear power will be part of our electricity supply system in the foreseeable future."


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