Ringhals 2 enters retirement

31 December 2019

Unit 2 of the Ringhals nuclear power plant in Sweden was yesterday permanently shut down, ending 44 years of operation and 215 TWh of generation. Ringhals 1 is scheduled to shut down next year.

The four-unit Ringhals plant (Image: Vattenfall)

Utility Vattenfall said earlier this month that the final shutdown of the 807 MWe pressurised water reactor (PWR) began in September, when it went into a phase called 'coast down'. "This means that the reactor output falls as the energy in the fuel decreases," the company said. "In November, the output fell to below 50% and one of the turbines was taken out of operation. On 30 December, the other turbine will also be shut down and electricity generation will cease."

As scheduled, the second turbine at Ringhals 2 was yesterday stopped at 8.56am marking the end of operation of the unit. "Everything went according to plan and the plant was decommissioned in a calm and professional manner by the employees in the control room," said Vattenfall.

"The night shift got the honour to operate last night and we celebrated it with a little non-alcoholic bubbles," said Ringhals production manager Sven-Anders Andersson. "We celebrated that we have actually succeeded in producing fossil-free power here for 44 years. But also that we managed to operate the reactor from the decision to close until today."

Vattenfall announced in October 2015 that Ringhals 2 would be decommissioned in 2019, with Ringhals 1 (an 878 MWe BWR that started up in 1976) following in 2020. The company said the decision to close the reactors five years earlier than originally planned was taken for commercial reasons as it "would not be possible to continue operation of either of the two reactors, for both economic and practical reasons".

"It is with a little sadness and a lot of pride in the heart that we close Ringhals 2, which for more than four decades has contributed to the country's growth and environment with its fossil-free electricity," said Ringhals CEO Björn Linde.

Two newer and larger PWR units at the Ringhals site, Ringhals 3 and 4, are expected to remain in operation until 2041 and 2043 under current plans.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News