Bergen-based startup Norsk Kjernekraft has already signed agreement with UK-based with Rolls-Royce SMR
A company which says “the time is right” for Norway to return to nuclear power has submitted a proposal to Norway’s ministry of oil and energy as the first formal step towards the possible construction of the country’s first commercial nuclear power plant.
Bergen-based Norsk Kjernekraft, part of the M Vestt energy gas and oil group, said the proposal is for an assessment of the construction of a power plant based on multiple small modular reactors (SMRs) in the municipalities of Aure, northern Norway, and Heim in central-west Norway.
According to a preliminary plan, the plant will be built in a common industrial area in the border area between Aure and Heim. It could be operational within 10 years, Norsk Kjernekraft chief executive officer Jonny Hesthammer said
Other areas in the municipalities may also be considered, Norsk Kjernekraft said.
The facility would consist of several SMRs, which together will produce around 12.5 TWh of electricity annually. This would correspond to an increase in Norway's power production of about 8%, Norsk Kjernekraft said.
Earlier this year Norsk Kjernekraft signed agreements with three municipalities – Aure, Heim and Narvik – to investigate the construction of SMRs.
At the time, Norsk Kjernekraft, founded in 2022 with the aim of building and operating SMRs, said it would work with the three municipalities to investigate the technical, financial and safety aspects of building one or more SMRs in their area.
‘Rapid And Positive Turn’ In Favour Of Nuclear
In March 2023, Norsk Kjernekraft signed an agreement with UK-based with Rolls-Royce SMR to work together to increase acceptance of nuclear power in Norway, and to potentially establish future projects that “could lead to the deployment of Rolls-Royce’s small, modular nuclear power plants in Norway”.
Norsk Kjernekraft said it had seen “a rapid and positive turn” in favour of considering nuclear power in Norway. The company said it was “already in dialogue” with politicians from a number of parties and perceives them to be interested in learning more. “That includes the governing parties,” the company said.
Norway has never had commercial nuclear power plants, but has operated two research reactors for the production of medical radioisotopes and research purposes.
The two research reactors are the nuclear fuel and materials testing reactor at Halden and the Jeep II neutron scattering facility at Kjeller. They were permanently shut down in June 2018 and April 2019 respectively.
The country has a disposal facility for low and medium level radioactive waste from radioactive sources used in industry and medicine as well as that generated by the research reactors. Norway also plans new medical irradiation facilities at hospitals in Oslo and Bergen.