A non-binding referendum on nuclear power was held in Sweden on 23 March 1980. Three proposals were put to voters:
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.
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.
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.
The second option won a narrow plurality of the vote, receiving 39.1% of the ballots cast to 38.7% for option 3. Option 1 was the least popular, receiving only 18.9% of the votes.
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.
"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.