1980 Swedish nuclear power referendum

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.