Sweden’s Vattenfall plans new nuclear reactors: reports

Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall is planning to build some 3 gigawatts (GW) of new nuclear capacity at its existing Ringhals site on the western Swedish coast and to connect it to the grid from 2032.

Vattenfall’s nuclear unit has applied for a grid connection to Ringhals with transmission system operator Svenska Kraftnaet, the Aftonbladet newspaper reported.

If confirmed, this would mark the first time Sweden build new nuclear capacity since 1985.

The application comes in the wake of Sweden’s government preparing legislation to allow the construction of more nuclear power stations to boost electricity production in the Nordic country to bolster energy security. 

In its coalition agreement from October last year, Sweden’s centre-right government said Vattenfall should start planning new nuclear power at Ringhals and others suitable places.

Sweden currently has six nuclear reactors in operations, including two at Ringhals, after closing four reactors since 2016.

If the plants receive the go-ahead, it will mark a further resurgence of nuclear power in the region as it seeks to increase its energy independence.

As reported by Emerging Risks, Finnish utility group Fortum is to examine the possibility of building new nuclear reactors, including small modular reactors.

“The assessment focuses on the Finnish and Swedish markets,” the company said in a statement.

The two-year assessment will “identify the commercial, technological and societal requirements” for both small modular reactors and conventional large reactors.

Looking to “renew its strategy focusing on sustainable electricity”, the move comes after Fortum booked heavy losses from Russian gas cuts through its majority shares in German energy giant Uniper.

Fortum built Finland’s first nuclear power plant in Loviisa on the country’s southern coast in 1977.

Last September, full power tests began at the Nordic country’s fifth nuclear reactor, in Olkiluoto, after the unit had been delayed for over a decade.

Vattenfall was not immediately available for comment.