Sweden’s supreme court has backed the government’s plan to close the nuclear power plant at Barsebäck, rejecting an appeal by the plant’s owners Sydkraft. Unit one is likely to stop operating in November, with unit two closing in July 2001.

Sydkraft has described the decision as “deplorable” and argues that the company has not received the full protection of the law as the Swedish court did not consider the opinion of the EC Court of Justice.

The closure is the first step in the Swedish government’s plan to close down the country’s nuclear generation capacity by 2010, a programme which follows a referendum in 1980 and will cost around $1 billion.

“I share the sense of outrage and resignation of my colleagues at the Barsebäck plant,” said Sydkraft ceo Lars Frithiof. “This decision means that Swedish electricity supplies, the environment, the economy and the industrial climate will deteriorate. The electricity that will be replaced will mainly be imported from coal-fired power plants in Denmark. The decision also contradicts the latest opinion polls, which show that the Swedish government’s decision to prematurely shut-down Barsebäck 1 is not supported by the Swedish people.” Sydkraft shares dropped slightly as a result of the news, but there was no significant fall in value.