KSO in English

Swedish Association of Municipalities with Nuclear Facilities

KSO is the Swedish association of municipalities with nuclear facilities. The association was established in 1977 to facilitate cooperation and exchange of local experiences between these municipalities. Four municipalities are members of KSO and they are Nyköping, Oskarshamn, Varberg and Östhammar. Kävlinge was a member of the assocation until 2023.

In the 1970s there was a rapid expansion of nuclear power in Sweden and especially in the municipalities of Oskarshamn and Östhammar on the east coast and Kävlinge and Varberg on the west coast. The affected municipalities had to consider the huge construction works at the NPPs not only in their physical planning but also in their economic and social policies (housing, roads, social infrastructure etc). After proposals from different politicians in the municipalities, a meeting took place in Malmö in the autumn of 1977. At that meeting the Mayors decided to create a special network, abbreviated KSO. In 1993, Nyköping entered KSO as a member with its research and development centre at Studsvik.

This rather informal network has been working for over 40 years. The most important objective of KSO has been to facilitate the cooperation and the exchange of local experiences between municipalities with nuclear facilities. At meetings (4 times a year), seminars, study tours and training, a number of questions of common interest has been addressed and discussed. Other major issues of interest for KSO is nuclear safety, competence building for nuclear staff and the emergency planning/ preparedeness organisation. The waste management operations and plans, especially the siting of a national high level waste (HLW) repository is also of great interest to KSO. Especially Environmental Impact Studies in an early phase of planned changes are of a great interest to the affected municipalities as a base for an efficient democratic dialogue on local level. The more the municipalities can cooperate both nationaly and internationaly, the greater the possibility to be listened to and to be considered.

Since the foundation of KSO, the association every fourth year after national and local elections has organised training for local politicians, appointed to the Local Liaison/Safety Committees. KSO’s experiences of educating local politicians for more than 40 years demonstrate clearly the importance of basic knowledge of the nuclear fuel cycle and especially protection from radiation even if they not can be seen as specialists in this field. This includes the importance of taking relevant local decisions after a well-developed dialogue with the affected municipality and it´s citizens and different stakeholders. In Sweden there is also a planning monopoly for local authorities so the municipalities have the possibility to change plans. There is also a possibility for a local veto when it comes to the question of hosting a facility.

During the years study trips also have been carried out abroad to nuclear facilities and to international organisations like IAEA and European institutions. These study tours are coordinated with the training of local politicians close to the NPPs. As said earlier a very important task for KSO is to observe the nuclear world surrounding us.

KSO has visited both the Three Mile Island/Harrisburg- facility, the Ignalina- facility, the Chernobyl facility and Japan and Fukushima after the accident in 2011. As a result of these observations KSO then makes conclusions and sometimes also organise seminars on national level. Other joint activities is lobbying in common issues versus national Government, authorities and industry as well as international decision makers and organisations like EU, NEA and IAEA.

Swedish energy politics

In Sweden there is since 2016 an agreement between a majority of political parties in the Swedish Parliament regarding energy. The goal is 100 % renewables by 2045. Nuclear is still an option at existing nuclear sites during the life time of the reactors. There is also a possibility to build new reactors on existing sites/places.

At the same time there is a political discussion for the moment between different political parties due to the fact that industry has decided to close down and dismantle in total 4 Swedish reactors. The reactors are located in Oskarshamn (Oskarshamn NPP) and Varberg (Ringhals NPP) municipalities. Both municipalities are members of KSO.

Sweden will in the future have six reactors in operation. This has great impact on the municipalities and the regions. A special national conversion program including national grants has therefore been initiated. The political parties opposing closure think that the 4 reactors should continue to produce electricity during the lifespan of the reactors. They are also in favour of building new reactors. They demand the National Agreement to be revised and a new Commission on energy to be appointed.

The position of the national government, consisting of Socialdemocrats and the Greens, is that the Energy Agreement still is valid and do not want a new Commission.

Nuclear Power in Sweden

Nuclear power accounts for about 50 % of the electricity generated in Sweden. In the future there will be 6 reactors in operation in Sweden at three sites: Forsmark (3), Oskarshamn (1) and Ringhals (2). Four of these are boiling water reactors while the Ringhals’s reactors are of the pressurised water reactor type.

Nuclear activities in Sweden are mainly regulated by the Act on Nuclear Activities. According to Swedish law the responsibility for safety rests entirely with the holder of the licence to operate a nuclear facility. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) stipulates, in its regulations, what this responsibility entails. Through inspections and reviews the authority ensures that each licensee takes its responsibility. SSM also supervise compliance with the radiation protection regulations. Deviations from normal operating procedures must be reported to SSM. Often, these involve technical problems that are of little significance to safety. In some cases, the authority intervenes and requires more extensive investigations or descriptions of the event. SSM can also shut down a reactor if it does not fulfil the requirements of the operating licence and regulations. Severe incidents are very uncommon in Sweden and radioactive releases that exceed the limits have so far not occurred.

The Swedish emergency preparedness organisation for nuclear accidents involve several authorities. In the event of an accident or a severe incident at a Swedish or foreign nuclear power plant which may entail consequences to the environment in Sweden, the Swedish emergency preparedness organisation will take effect. The County Governors Office is coordinating the prepardeness organisation. Sweden has signed agreements with several neighbouring countries whereby, at an early stage, these countries are to inform each other in the event of severe nuclear events.

Nuclear Waste Management in Sweden

In Sweden there has been a long process for more than 25 years regarding radioactive waste management and the process of siting a national geological repository for high level waste from the Swedish reactors. The concerned municipalities have been partners in the process durin these years. At local level there is a lot of competence in these issues among politicians, officials and municipal servants and different stakeholders as for example the inhabitants. Recognition from both national government and industry for the municipalities contribution to solve a question of national interest is of great importance.

In 2018, KSO sent a letter to Parliament, Government and regulatory authorities underlining the importance of this democratic process for more than 25 years and that this process not should be prolonged. KSO also highlighted the importance of a final national government decision regarding the HLW repository in the near future. Industry proposed in 2011 Forsmark in Östhammar municipality as the site for a HLW repository and industry also proposed an Encapsulation Plant in Oskarshamn. After the ending of a judicial process (Nuclear Act and Environmental Act) and positive decisions regarding the proposal from industry by the affected two municipalities in 2020 there is now hope that a Government decision is possible in 2021