STOCKHOLM, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) — A Swedish nuclear reactor that was taken off the grid in August will not be restarted until next year, waterfall company Vattenfall said on Friday.
Ringhals 4 was to be restarted on January 31 after five months of repair work. But now the relaunch has been postponed until February 23, said Vattenfall.
The reactor was shut down in mid-August for annual maintenance and was about to be restarted when a pressure vessel was damaged during testing.
Initially, Vattenfall said the repair work would take three months, but this is the second time the restart date has been pushed back.
“The work is going well, but parts of the work are taking longer than expected,” says Ringhals CEO Björn Linde.
Among other things, a full-scale model of the nearly 13 meter high pressure vessel has been constructed so that tools can be tested, and personnel can rehearse routines.
– The repair is complex and all available resources are working hard to get production started at Ringhals 4, because nuclear power is in demand in the Swedish electricity system, says Linde.
According to Vattenfall, the reactor has an output of 1,130 megawatts (MW) and an energy expert tells Dagens Nyheter (DN) that the delays could lead to further price increases.
“We have an extreme situation with terrible prices. All lost (electricity) production is bad news,” says Lina Bertling Tjernberg, professor of power grid technology at the Royal Institute of Technology, to DN.
According to the Radiation Safety Authority, the country has six remaining nuclear reactors, after four were decommissioned in 2017-2020.
Together, they account for around 30 percent of Sweden’s electricity production.