Small Modular Reactors

Sweden / Vattenfall Shortlists Two SMR Designs For New Reactors Evaluation At Ringhals

By Kamen Kraev
12 June 2024

Company examining large-scale unit deployment in parallel

Vattenfall Shortlists Two SMR Designs For New Reactors Evaluation At Ringhals
The two-unit Ringhals nuclear power station could have its first SMR in the early 2030s. Courtesy Vattenfall.

Swedish nuclear operating utility Vattenfall has shortlisted Rolls-Royce SMR and GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR) designs in an ongoing evaluation to potentially deploy new reactors at its existing Ringhals nuclear site in southwest Sweden.

Vattenfall said in a statement the two shortlisted designs were selected among a competition including four other potential suppliers.

In early 2023, the company concluded an initial technical and commercial feasibility study on building at least two SMRs at Ringhals during the first half of the 2030s.

Vattenfall said next steps will include detailed analysis of the proposals made by the two shortlisted SMR suppliers and a joint timetable for the option of building the new units.

“Shortlisting two potential suppliers of SMRs is one of several steps in our continued work towards new nuclear power on the Värö Peninsula at Ringhals,” said Desirée Comstedt, head of new nuclear power at Vattenfall.

“It is also a prerequisite for us to be able to continue to move forward at speed with the extensive work involved, which requires us - among other things - to submit applications for new nuclear reactors for examination by the responsible Swedish authorities, ” she said.

The company said it will continue in parallel to look at the conditions of building large-scale reactors at Ringhals, with potential technology supplied by US-based Westinghouse, France’s EDF and South Korea’s KHNP.

According to Comstedt, regardless of whether Vattenfall chooses SMRs or large-scale reactors, a future investment decision will require a “reasonable risk-sharing model with the state”.

“This is necessary to lower financing costs and thereby enable a reasonable cost for electricity production that customers are prepared to pay,” said Comstedt.

Late last year Sweden’s parliament approved a bill allowing more commercial nuclear power reactors to be built than previously planned, scrapping the previous cap of 10, as the country seeks to increase power generation and energy security.

By 2045 the government wants to have the equivalent of 10 new reactors, some of which are likely to be SMRs.

Support for the use of nuclear power in Sweden remains at a high level with 59% wanting to keep existing plants online and build new nuclear power if needed, a recent poll has shown.

The country has six commercial nuclear power units in operation at three sites: Forsmark, Oskarshamn and Ringhals. According to International Atomic Energy Agency data, nuclear energy provided about a third of the country’s electricity generation in 2023.

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