Swedish utility Vattenfall has announced that Ringhals 1&2 may be retired up to seven years earlier than previously planned due to declining profitability and increased costs.
Ringhals 1 is a 910MW boiling water reactor and Ringhals 2 is an 847MW Westinghouse pressurised water reactor. Both units were connected to the grid in 1974, and were expected to close around 2025. However Vattenfall, which owns 70.4% the plant, has announced a change in direction that could see the units shut down between 2018 and 2020.
E.ON, which holds the remaining 29.6% of the plants has been informed about Vattenfall's decision to change the direction. Vattenfall said that the closure decision will be made by the Ringhals Board of Directors, and requires agreement from both owners.
"Unfortunately, we see market conditions with continued low electricity prices in the coming years. At the same time, we are facing increasing production costs," says Torbjörn Wahlborg, head of the generation business area at Vattenfall.
"Vattenfall's decision is business driven. It is of course regrettable to close down well-functioning production units but sometimes this is inevitable," Wahlborg added.
Plans to operate Vattenfall's five other nuclear reactors (Ringhals 3&4, and Forsmark 1, 2 and 3) for at least 60 years, until the early 2040s, remain in place.