There is no guarantee of course that the Swedish government would actually use a fossil fuel back-up system, but without it, it is not entirely clear how they’d maintain the energy demand of their populace. The same applies to many other nations, particularly Germany, which has similar carbon dioxide-free designs but who is phasing out their nuclear power plants.
Some nations, like Iceland, simply don’t need nuclear power to supply their demand – this northerly nation has more than enough geothermal energy to satisfy that. Each country has different energy demands and source of non-fossil fuel reserves that they can tap into, so no one model of energy generation applies to all. In the case of Sweden, though, it really seems as if it needs nuclear power if it hopes to suppress its carbon footprint.
Will Sweden be able to supply its capital and country electricity without nuclear power? Scanrail1/Shutterstock
Since the Fukushima incident in 2011, there has been something of a backlash against nuclear power. Despite the fact that it was largely contained, and there have been no related increases in cancer rates in the region since, many around the world have rallied against their governments building new nuclear power plants – including in Germany and Sweden.
It’s a logical fallacy to do so. Japan experiences powerful natural disasters, so building nuclear power plants along a tsunami-prone coastline is probably not the best idea. Germany does not, and neither really does Sweden, so removing their nuclear capabilities can’t be explained away using this rationale.
If environmentalism is the concern, then it’s abundantly clear that fossil fuels have done far more harm to the planet than nuclear ever has. In fact, fossil fuels kill more people every single year than all traffic accidents, murders and wars combined.
Climate change is arguably the greatest threat facing the world today, in that it’s the problem that makes everything else worse. Fighting against it should be our number one priority, and the Paris agreement was a good step, but if the world is to take this seriously, it needs nuclear power alongside renewables.