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Environmental and health impacts of a policy to phase out nuclear power in Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics.
2015 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, Vol. 84, no 1, 1-10 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Nuclear power faces an uncertain future in Sweden. Major political parties, including the Green party of the coalition-government have recently strongly advocated for a policy to decommission the Swedish nuclear fleet prematurely. Here we examine the environmental, health and (to a lesser extent) economic impacts of implementing such a plan. The process has already been started through the early shutdown of the Barsebäck plant. We estimate that the political decision to shut down Barsebäck has resulted in ~2400 avoidable energy-production-related deaths and an increase in global CO2 emissions of 95 million tonnes to date (October 2014). The Swedish reactor fleet as a whole has reached just past its halfway point of production, and has a remaining potential production of up to 2100 TWh. The reactors have the potential of preventing 1.9–2.1 gigatonnes of future CO2-emissions if allowed to operate their full lifespans. The potential for future prevention of energy-related-deaths is 50,000–60,000. We estimate an 800 billion SEK (120 billion USD) lower-bound estimate for the lost tax revenue from an early phase-out policy. In sum, the evidence shows that implementing a ‘nuclear-free’ policy for Sweden (or countries in a similar situation) would constitute a highly retrograde step for climate, health and economic protection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 84, no 1, 1-10 p.
National Category
Energy Engineering Energy Systems Climate Research
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-252909DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2015.04.023ISI: 000358975500001OAI: diva2:812068
Available from: 2015-05-15 Created: 2015-05-15 Last updated: 2015-09-08Bibliographically approved

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Qvist, Staffan
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