Vattenfall has initiated a study to look into the feasibility of building at least two small modular reactors adjacent to its Ringhals nuclear power plant, the Swedish state-owned power company announced recently.
Located on Sweden’s west coast about 37 miles south of Gothenburg, Ringhals holds two operating power reactors: Unit 3, a 1,074-MWe pressurized water reactor; and Unit 4, a 1,130-MWe PWR. The facility is also home to two retired units: Unit 1, a boiling water reactor shut down in December 2020; and Unit 2, a PWR taken off line in December 2019.
According to the announcement, there is a need for more electricity generation in southern Sweden, which is why the study is focusing on “the southern bidding zones, primarily close to Ringhals.” Work on the study is expected to be completed by the end of 2023 or early 2024.
What they’re saying: “We will need all fossil-free energy sources to meet the increasing demand for electricity in Sweden,” said Vattenfall’s chief executive officer, Anna Borg. “SMR is a fossil-free technology that has come a long way in recent times … . No investment decisions have been made but, during the spring, Vattenfall’s management team [has] been working on the issue of new nuclear power in Sweden. Provided that a feasibility study concludes that it would be profitable and all other conditions for a future investment decision are met, in particular, new regulations for nuclear power, it should be possible to have the first SMR reactor in operation by the early 2030s.”
Torbjörn Wahlborg, Vattenfall’s head of business area generation, noted several reasons for the company’s selection of Ringhals, including legislation on the books that allows for the replacement of the plant’s two retired reactors, the existing grid infrastructure, and “the comprehensive skill level available at Ringhals.”