National Geographic : 1991 Aug
Swedes. While the French have a taste for strong, centralized authority, Swedes prefer consensus. Their economy -free-market capitalism mixed with a socialist-style welfare state-relies on cooperation among organized labor, industry, and government. Despite this instinct for consensus, neither the members of the Social Democratic Party nor any other political group has managed to put together an acceptable plan to accomplish the nuclear phase out. Thus the issue returns year after year, splitting apart otherwise healthy coalitions, drawing attention away from other important issues, and generally haunting politicians. "I can't think of another problem that has caused such difficulty for the political system," says Bo Andersson of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation. "It's very un-Swedish." Swedes depend on nuclear power for half their electricity (the rest coming mainly from hydropower), and they have no easy way to replace it. Building new dams is out because the country's four largest unharnessed rivers are protected by environmental laws. And parliament has set goals for carbon dioxide emissions that limit new fossil fuel plants as well. No nuclear. No new hydro. Restricted fossil fuel. What's left? A Comeback for Nuclear Power?