From: Reuters
Published January 21, 2008 08:15 AM

Nearly half of all Swedes back new nuclear power: poll

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Nearly half of all Swedes back building new nuclear reactors in their country, which voted to scrap atomic power in a 1980 referendum, an opinion poll published on Monday showed.

An opinion poll conducted for the Dagens Nyheter daily by Synovate showed that 48 percent of Swedes back building new nuclear power stations, while 39 percent are against.

The survey was conducted between January 14 and January 17 with 1,026 people questioned.

The result emerged two weeks after Britain decided to restart its nuclear program as it seeks to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets and tackle climate change.

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A decision to go ahead with new atomic plants in Sweden would be tricky for either the government or for the opposition, if it wins the next election in 2010, as both coalition blocs are internally divided along party lines.

A breakdown of responses to the survey by political affiliation showed that of the four ruling parties, three are strongly for nuclear power and one, the Centre Party, firmly against.

Supporters of the opposition bloc are also split. Social Democrats are just in favor, while the Green and Left parties clearly reject atomic power.

Sweden has 10 nuclear reactors in operation but has closed two since voting, nearly 30 years ago, to phase out atomic power when the current plants reach the end of their lives.

The country generates around 45 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, while about 40 percent comes from hydroelectric plants.

The European Union is expected to raise Sweden's target for energy production from renewable sources to 50 percent in its new energy plan, to be presented next week.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson, editing by Anthony Barker)

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