Research & Development

Finnish Cities To Explore Small Modular Reactors For District Heating

By David Dalton
15 December 2017

15 Dec (NucNet): The Finnish cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Kirkkonummi have begun studies to find out if it would be feasible to replace coal and natural gas in district heating with small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs), the environmental group Ecomodernist Society of Finland said. The society said a feasibility study will be carried out into the potential for SMRs to replace fossil fuel-burning in cities around the Helsinki metropolitan area. Several advanced SMRs are in development and coming to market by 2030 that could meet the specifications, the society said. Most of the district heating in Finland is produced by burning coal, natural gas, wood fuels and peat. While many Finnish cities have progressive climate policies and goals, they have struggled to decarbonise heating and liquid fuels, the society said. Rauli Partanen, vice-chair of the society and an independent energy analyst and author, said there are “significant economic possibilities” in producing combined heat and power (CHP) with nuclear reactors. He said: “With CHP, the reactor could produce roughly twice the value per installed capacity compared with just electricity production, while at the same time decarbonising heat production.” He said nuclear is great for baseload needs, but with advanced technologies such as high temperature reactors and high temperature electrolysis, nuclear can also be used to decarbonise not just electricity, heat but also transportation fuels and many industries”.

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