Finnish energy company Fortum has announced the launch of a two-year feasibility study to explore the potential for new nuclear construction, with a focus on Finland and neighboring Sweden. The utility said it will examine commercial, technological, and societal conditions for both conventional large reactors and small modular reactors.
Fortum operates Finland’s two-unit Loviisa plant, one of the country’s two nuclear power facilities (the other being Teollisuuden Voima Oyj’s Olkiluoto, where a third unit is scheduled to begin commercial operation this December). Loviisa-1 and -2 are both 507-MWe VVER-440/V213 pressurized water reactors, with operating licenses that expire in 2027 and 2030, respectively. In 2021, they produced 8.2 terawatt hours of electricity, which is over 10 percent of Finland’s annual electricity production.
Fortum submitted an application to Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment in March to operate the units through 2050.
What they’re saying: “The goals of energy independence, security of supply, and carbon neutrality are challenges facing our entire society,” stated Simon-Erik Ollus, executive vice president of Fortum’s generation division, in an October 17 release. “We want to find out under which conditions we could meet them with nuclear power generation, which is known to be reliable and CO2 free.”
Fortum’s Laurent Leveugle, who is leading the feasibility study, said, “The challenges related to new nuclear are well known. Achieving competitive construction times and costs are must-win battles for our industry. In this feasibility study, we aim to explore novel partnerships, new business models and technologies, such as small modular reactors, which are promising in terms of taking nuclear power forward to future generations.”
In case you missed it: Vattenfall, operator of Sweden’s Forsmark and Ringhals nuclear plants, announced in June that it was initiating a feasibility study to look into the construction of at least two SMRs adjacent to Ringhals.
“We will need all fossil-free energy sources to meet the increasing demand for electricity in Sweden,” Vattenfall chief executive officer Anna Borg said at the time. “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.”
In addition, Bloomberg reported just last week that Sweden’s incoming government “will ask state-run utility Vattenfall AB to add nuclear power stations as the economy becomes increasingly electrified.”