Sweden's Ringhals 1 closes for last time

31 December 2020

Ringhals 1 today became the fourth reactor to close in Sweden in the last seven years. The unit, on the west coast of the country, was permanently disconnected from the national grid after 44 years of operation, according to data from its operator, Ringhals AB, which is owned by Vattenfall (70.4%) and Sydkraft Nuclear Power (29.6%).

The four-unit Ringhals plant (Image: Vattenfall)

Ringhals 2 was shut down in December 2019 following a 2015 decision to close the reactors five years earlier than originally planned, for commercial reasons.

Unit 1 began a maintenance outage on 13 March, but on 18 June Ringhals AB entered into an agreement with national electricity transmission system operator Svenska Kraftnät regarding the availability of the unit. The agreement secured the voltage stability and short-circuit power in the transmission network to handle the operating situation in southern Sweden during the summer. It was subsequently resynchronised to the grid on 27 June.

Vattenfall had informed the Nordpool power exchange on 31 March that the 910 MWe boiling water reactor would remain offline until after the summer due to the current market prices of electricity. The reactor would then be operated until the end of the year when it would be permanently shut down.

Ringhals 1-3 produced 15% of all the electricity used in Sweden, generating around 23 TWh in a normal year. The plant is one of the few in the world to have both boiling water and pressurised water reactors. They were commissioned between 1975 and 1983.

There are plans for Ringhals 3 and 4 to operate for at least 60 years, until the beginning of the 2040s.

The plant is situated on the Värö Peninsula in Varberg Municipality, about 65 km south of Gothenburg.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News