Closure predicted despite investment

The Oskarshamn 2 reactor is likely to be shut down for good. Following months of negotiations, principal owner E.ON is insisting the reactor, which has been shut down for more than two years during a multi-billion kronor upgrade, should not be re-started. The power company says Oskarshamn 1, which is the oldest reactor, should also be shut down early, i.e. sometime between 2017 and 2020.

Finland’s Fortum, which is a major stakeholder in Oskarshamn operator OKG, has contested this, but experts believe E.ON will win the battle.

“Our main scenario is that Oskarshamn 2 has produced its last kilowatt hour,” says Christian Holtz, from consultant firm Sweco.

Vattenfall seeks early shut down of reactors

Vattenfall announced yesterday that it was seeking to shut down reactors 1 and 2 at its Ringhals nuclear power plant between 2018 and 2020, rather than in 2025 as was previously planned.

Energy prices are falling and Vattenfall CEO Magnus Hall has said he does not see any indication that they will increase in the coming years. At the same time, the utility is facing increasing production costs, and intends to trim 1,000 staff. The cuts will affect staff in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, according to the CEO.

Magnus Hall has also said that the decision had been made on a commercial basis and that no political pressure had been exerted. However, he admitted that reactors which ran smoothly would probably not have to close, were it not for the new and higher tax on nuclear power.

The decision to shut down the reactors must be taken by the Ringhals board and presupposes that co-owner E.On will agree to the plans.

Jonas Abrahamsson, E.On manager for the Nordic region, said yesterday that it must first analyse the proposal.

The book value of Ringhals 1 and 2 is around SKr 15 billion. Were the two reactors to shut down, Vattenfall and E.On will be forced to make extensive write-downs.

“We are looking at the financial impact and aim to submit a report on this in conjunction with the Q2 report,” Magnus Hall told the press.