Areva to dismantle Swedish research reactors

16 July 2014

Two reactors used for early nuclear energy research in Sweden are to be dismantled by Areva. Work to completely dismantle the R2 and R2-0 reactors and associated systems is due to be finished within five years.

The R2 and R2-0 reactors were part of the Swedish government's research program on nuclear power from the early 1960s. Both reactors were shut in 2005 following a decision by former operator Studsvik Nuclear AB.

R2 reactor 460 (SVAFO)
The R2 and R2-0 share the same reactor building at Studsvik (Image: SVAFO)

Site manager SVAFO has now awarded a contract to Areva to prepare a detailed project schedule and dismantle the reactors. Areva is to measure the radiation level of the dismantled components and package them in appropriate storage casks before returning them to SVAFO. The work on site is expected to begin in the first half of 2015.

The two reactors at Studsvik, near Nyköping, are situated in a common water-filled reactor pool. R2 is a 50 MWt tank type reactor and R2-0 is a 1 MWt mobile pool reactor. The R2 reactor was used for fuel testing, studies on corrosion, radiography and production of radioisotopes, semi-conducting materials and neutrons used in basic research. Used high-enriched uranium fuel from the reactor has been returned to the USA which originally supplied it. R2-0 was used as a neutron source for treatment of patients with brain tumours and for training purposes.

SVAFO has divided the decommissioning of the R2 and R2-0 reactors into three phases. The first phase - to be conducted by Areva under the new contract - involves dismantling of the reactors and associated systems in the reactor pool, as well as draining and cleaning the pool. In the second phase, the pool structure itself will be dismantled, while removal of remaining reactor systems, treatment and disposal of materials and clean-up will be carried out in the third stage. The entire work is planned to be completed in 2019.

SVAFO was established to be responsible for coordinating and managing historic waste - primarily from government research activities - under the so-called 'Studsvik Act' of 1988/89. Its operations are financed by the Nuclear Waste Fund to which owners of the four nuclear utilities pay fees. Studsvik acquired SVAFO in May 2003, but in 2009 sold it to Sweden's four nuclear power producers: OKG, Ringhals, Forsmark Kraftgrupp and Barseback Kraft.

As well as the Studsvik test reactors, SVAFO's responsibilities include remediation following uranium mining in Ranstad; management of radioactive waste in the Studsvik area; decommissioning the shut down reactors at Ågesta, and other nuclear facilities in the Studsvik area. This work is expected to be completed by 2050, by which time any residual wastes will have been placed in a repository.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News