Sweden slams Germany’s nuclear pledge

A top Swedish official has branded Germany’s announcement that it will be decommissioning its nuclear power stations by 2022 as “unrealistic.”

The comments came from Andreas Carlgren, the Swedish environment minister, who said that his own nation’s choice not to set an immediate deadline for cutting its nuclear dependency was a much more feasible option. Talking to the TT news agency, he added, “To focus so strongly on which year nuclear power is to be wound down raises the risk that the key issue is missed: how are we to meet the dual challenge of both cutting nuclear power dependency and of climate emissions.”

The news follows the announcement on Sunday from Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said that coalition government parties had agreed to conclude the country’s nuclear power operations within the next 11 years. About 13 percent of Germany’s current energy capacity is met by nuclear and hydro power, with the rest still generated from fossil fuels.

But despite increasing pressure on governments to phase out nuclear power in the wake of Japan’s ongoing crisis at Fukushima, Mr Cargren said, “The decisive issue for Germany now is that it is highly likely that it will increase imports of nuclear generated electricity from France and that it will risk not being able to ease dependency on fossil fuels – primarily of coal power.”

Meanwhile, the Swede’s statements have raised questions among critics, who have accused him of attempting to defend the Swedish-based nuclear energy firm Vattenfall, which operates a large portion of Germany’s nuclear plants.

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