An unusual glow

THE list of candidates for the most beleaguered part of Europe’s nuclear-power industry is long. But since last year Sweden, which generates about 40% of its electricity through nuclear energy, has been a strong contender. A tax increased to punitive levels in 2015 by the anti-nuclear Green Party hit its operators so hard that they threatened to close all ten of the country’s plants unless it was scrapped. On June 10th the government, including the Greens, caved in and threw them a lifeline. It has promised to phase out the tax from next year and will allowed operators to replace ageing reactors with new ones.

This was a rare piece of good news for an industry that looks like it is on its last legs in much of western Europe. Germany is decommissioning all of its reactors and France is cutting the share of nuclear in the energy mix to half, from 75%, by 2025. The country’s main power provider, Electricité de France (EDF), is under fire for the shortcomings of the as-yet-unfinished European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) under construction in Finland and France. Its proposed EPR scheme at Hinkley Point in...Continue reading