Dialogue on replacement Ringhals units

31 January 2013

Swedish utility Vattenfall will meet with officials from the municipality of Varberg, where the Ringhals nuclear power plant is located, for initial discussions on the potential construction of new reactors there. Local residents have been given the opportunity to visit the existing plant.

Vattenfall's director of nuclear power development Mats Ladeborn told the Hallands Nyheter newspaper that the company was in discussions with municipalities at both Forsmark and Ringhals. He said that the company wants to meet with Varberg officials to hear their comments on possible new units at Ringhals.

Neighbours visit Ringhals

Ringhals residents visit (Vattenfall)

Vattenfall recently welcomed a group of local residents to the Ringhals nuclear power plant in order to raise their knowledge and understanding of nuclear energy.

The group spent a day at the plant, where they were given classes on the theory and safety of nuclear power, a visit to the control room simulator and a tour of unit 4 of the plant.

Ann-Sophie Gustavsson of Ringhals commented: "I think most of the group were very satisfied with the training day. This was a pilot training, so now we will evaluate how the arrangement worked and review the comments received from the participants. It is very possible that there will be a continuation of some form."

"We have no concrete plans to build any replacement reactors," Ladeborn told World Nuclear News. "All our investments, irrespective of energy type, must be profitable and be based on solid decision-making. The dialogue with Varberg municipality that we are planning to hold in February is part of these analyses, and will help us create an overall picture. We will listen to their long-term objectives within the scope of their municipal overview plans."

He added, "This is one of many meetings that we will have in order to be able to complete our analysis. Dialogues with a number of interested parties in Varberg and Osthammar municipalities have already been held in order to report on Vattenfall's analysis work."

Replacement reactors

In late July 2012, Vattenfall submitted an application to the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) concerning the replacement of up to two of its existing nuclear power reactors with new ones. According to Vattenfall, "Current regulations are such that it is only through applying for a permit for replacement reactors that Vattenfall will obtain some of the answers needed to complete a decision basis." A decision on whether or not to build new units could be made within ten years, it noted.

The Swedish grid operator Svenska Kraftnät, in a long-term development plan published in October, noted that the construction of new nuclear generating capacity at Forsmark or Oskarshamn would present problems. It concluded that the Ringhals site would be the most convenient location of any new nuclear power in Sweden.

Prior to March 2007, all of Sweden's nuclear power plants had been set to shutdown by 2010. The government has since scrapped old anti-nuclear policies and current policy is that new reactors may be built - but only as replacements for retiring ones and only at existing nuclear sites.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News