Vattenfall confirms early closure of Ringhals units

04 September 2015

Although the co-owners of Sweden's Ringhals nuclear power plant -Vattenfall and EOn - have yet to agree on the early closure of units 1 and 2, majority owner Vattenfall has said it will limit investment in those units which will mean they can only operate until 2020.

Ringhals NPP - 460 (Vattenfall)
Unit 1 and 2 of the Ringhals plant (Image: Vattenfall)

In April, Vattenfall - which owns a 70.4% stake in the Ringhals plant - announced that, due to declining profitability and increased costs, it had informed EOn of its decision to close Ringhals units 1 and 2 in 2018-2020 instead of 2025 as previously planned. At that time, Vattenfall said that the final decision to decommission the reactors early had yet to be made by the board of directors of the Ringhals plant and requires the agreement of EOn.

Vattenfall announced today that it has since been in talks with EOn over the early closure of the units, but they had failed to reach an agreement.

However, Torbjörn Wahlborg - head of generation at Vattenfall and chairman of the board of Ringhals AB - said, "Market conditions and the impact of the high output tax have prompted us to limit investments in Ringhals 1 and 2. The investment decision, which had to wait while talks with EOn were under way, will not be subject to review." He added, "We also decided to stop ongoing investment projects that would have been implemented from 2017 onwards."

"Clearly, I wish we hadn't had to take the decision to limit investments," Wahlborg said. He noted that Ringhals 1 and 2 have recently been upgraded and modernized to comply with new safety requirements, but added: "The situation on the market gives us no scope for continuing to make investments which will be required in the future". Investment plans for units 3 and 4 at Ringhals will not be affected, he stressed.

Ringhals managing director Eva Halldén said, "According to our analysis of the board's decision, under current conditions Ringhals 1 and 2 can remain in operation until 2020 at the latest."

She added, "Clearly this is a difficult but necessary decision for me as CEO and the licensee to take following the board's decision to limit investments. At the same time, we now have a timeframe to work from when planning and dimensioning for ongoing operations."

Ringhals unit 1 is an 878 MWe boiling water reactor (BWR) which started operating in 1976 and had been due to be closed in 2026, while unit 2 is an 807 MWe pressurized water reactor (PWR) that began operation in 1975 and scheduled to shut down in 2025. Ringhals 3 and 4 are larger PWRs that started up in the early 1980s.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News