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Environmental and health impacts of a policy to phase out nuclear power in Sweden


Qvist, SA and Brook, BW, Environmental and health impacts of a policy to phase out nuclear power in Sweden, Energy Policy, 84 pp. 1-10. ISSN 0301-4215 (2015) [Refereed Article]

PDF (Qvist & Brook 2015 - Energy Pol)

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2015.04.023


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:nuclear energy, climate change
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Resources engineering and extractive metallurgy
Research Field:Nuclear engineering (incl. fuel enrichment and waste processing and storage)
Objective Division:Energy
Objective Group:Energy transformation
Objective Field:Nuclear energy
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
ID Code:107167
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:24
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2016-03-07
Last Modified:2018-03-22
Downloads:416 View Download Statistics

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