1980 Swedish nuclear power referendum

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A non-binding referendum on nuclear power was held in Sweden on 23 March 1980.[1] Three proposals were put to voters:

  1. Nuclear power would be phased out over a period that would not impact too severely on employment and welfare. The twelve nuclear power stations operating or under construction would continue to be used until renewable sources became available, in order to reduce dependence on oil. There would also be no further expansion of nuclear power and the order in which the existing nuclear power stations would close down would be dependent on security.[2]
  2. As with proposal 1, but efforts would also be made to reduce energy consumption whilst protecting low income groups, including phasing out electric heating and increased R&D of renewable energy led by the government. In addition, a security committee with local membership would be put in place at each nuclear power plant and the public sector would take responsibility for generating and distributing electricity. Nuclear power plants would be owned by central and local government and any surplus profits from hydroelectric generation would be subject to a 100% tax rate.[2]
  3. The expansion of nuclear power would cease immediately and the six operational stations would be subject to stricter conditions and closed within ten years. Efforts would be made to reduce energy consumption and to increase renewable energy capacity. Uranium mining would be banned and efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons would be enhanced.[2]

The second option won a narrow plurality of the vote, receiving 39.1% of the ballots cast to 38.7% for option 3.[2] Option 1 was the least popular, receiving only 18.9% of the votes.[2]

The actual long term result of the nuclear power politics in Sweden after the referendum has been most similar to option 1. Nuclear power plants did not change ownership. Some were fully private and other owned by the government, and this did not change much. High profits in hydroelectric generation were not excessively taxed. Some of the nuclear power plants have been phased out, but most (as of 2017) haven't.

Details of the options[edit]

  • The ballot for "Linje 1" read:
"Nuclear power shall be phased out, while taking consideration of the need for electric power for the maintenance of employment and welfare. In order to, among other things, lessen the dependency on oil, and while waiting for the availability of renewable energy sources, at most 12 of the reactors shall be used, be they existing or under construction. No further expansion is to take place. The order in which the reactors will be taken out of production will be determined by security concerns."
There was no text on the reverse side of the ballot.
  • The front side of the ballot for "Linje 2" had almost identical wording to that of "Linje 1". However, on the reverse side, the following text was added:
"Energy conservation shall be pursued vigorously and stimulated further. The weakest groups in society shall be protected. Measures shall be taken to control consumption of electricity, e.g. prohibiting direct electric heating in the construction of new permanent housing.
Research and development of renewable energy sources shall be pursued under the leadership of the community [government].
Environmental and safety improving measures are to be carried out. A special safety study is to be made at each reactor. To allow insight by the citizens a special security committee with local ties is appointed at each nuclear power plant.
Production of electricity from oil and coal is to be avoided.
The community [government] shall have the main responsibility for production and distribution of electric power. Nuclear power plants and other future installations for the production of significant electric power shall be owned by the state and by the municipalities. Excessive profits from hydroelectric power generation are reduced by taxation."
The last point was controversial and the most important reason why the Moderate Party would not consider supporting "Linje 2".
  • The front side of the ballot for "Linje 3" read:
"NO to continued expansion of nuclear power.
Phasing out of the currently operating six reactors with at most ten years. A conservation plan for reduced dependency on oil is to be carried through on the basis of:
  • continued and intensified energy conservation
  • greatly increased development of renewable energy sources.
The operating reactors are subjected to heightened safety requirements. Non-fueled reactors will never be put into production.
Uranium mining is to be prohibited in our country."
The reverse side of the ballot read:
"If ongoing or future safety analyses demand it, immediate shutdown is to take place.
The work against nuclear proliferation and nuclear weapons shall be intensified. No fuel enrichment is permitted and the export of reactors and reactor technology is to cease.
Employment will increase through alternative energy production, more effective conservation of energy and refinement of raw materials."

Results[edit]

Choice Votes %
Option 1 904,968 18.9
Option 2 1,869,344 39.1
Option 3 1,846,911 38.7
Blank votes 157,103 3.3
Invalid votes 3,153
Total 4,781,479 100
Registered voters/turnout 6,321,165 75.6
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

Results by County[edit]

Results by county
  Option 1
  Option 2
  Option 3
County Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Blank vote Total
Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes %
Stockholm County 230 045 25,41 295 837 32,68 350 942 38,76 28 503 3,15 905 327
Uppsala County 25 219 18,0 52 642 37,6 58 051 41,4 4 273 3,0 140 185
Södermanland County 23 946 16,56 67 192 46,46 48 110 33,27 5 367 3,71 144 615
Östergötland County 42 343 18,93 95 022 42,49 77 278 34,56 9 011 4,03 223 654
Jönköping County 29 717 17,06 67 137 38,56 71 314 40,95 5 984 3,44 174 152
Kronoberg County 16 909 17,54 35 669 37,01 40 702 42,23 3 098 3,21 96 378
Kalmar County 23 468 17,30 54 507 40,19 53 568 39,50 4 072 3,00 135 615
Gotland County 4 161 13,67 10 474 34,41 14 843 48,76 964 3,17 30 442
Blekinge County 15 116 18,12 41 359 49,59 24 141 28,94 2 788 3,34 83 404
Kristianstad County 35 937 23,74 62 629 41,38 47 490 31,37 5 312 3,51 151 368
Malmöhus County 124 584 28,36 190 651 43,40 109 310 24,88 14 745 3,36 439 290
Halland County 24 695 18,70 45 813 34,69 56 498 42,78 5 059 3,83 132 065
Gothenburg and Bohus County 80 584 19,30 145 791 34,92 177 136 42,42 14 034 3,36 417 545
Älvsborg County 39 797 16,45 91 748 37,92 101 869 42,11 8 508 3,52 241 922
Skaraborg County 24 557 16,13 52 248 34,32 70 079 46,03 5 363 3,52 152 247
Värmland County 25 224 15,02 67 239 41,68 63 929 39,63 4 924 3,05 161 316
Örebro County 21 975 13,79 69 127 43,37 63 162 39,62 5 136 3,22 159 400
Västmanland County 29 375 20,02 64 666 44,08 46 922 31,98 5 738 3,91 146 701
Kopparberg County 19 249 11,91 65 725 40,67 71 112 44,00 5 531 3,42 161 617
Gävleborg County 17 145 10,32 69 911 42,08 74 080 44,59 5 000 3,01 166 146
Västernorrland County 15 831 10,09 67 923 43,28 68 661 43,75 4 519 2,88 156 934
Jämtland County 7 250 9,58 31 259 41,30 35 120 46,40 2 058 2,72 75 687
Västerbotten County 13 734 9,81 56 827 40,58 65 938 47,09 3 527 2,52 140 026
Norrbotten County 14 107 9,91 67 948 47,75 56 656 39,81 3 589 2,52 142 300
Sweden (total) 904 968 18,94 1 869 344 39,12 1 846 911 38,65 157 103 3,29 4 778 326

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nohlen, Dieter; Stöver, Philip (2010). Elections in Europe: A Data Handbook. p. 1858. ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7.
  2. ^ a b c d e Nohlen & Stöver, p1863

External links[edit]