Norway closes its research reactors

20 October 2016

Norway’s two ageing nuclear research reactors, located in Halden and Kjeller, are to be shut down in what officials said was a “temporary” measure. Magazine Teknisk Ukeblad reported that the reason for the shutdown was largely financial, after lower oil prices led to a slowdown in the energy industry and a fall in the number of research assignments coming in to Norway’s Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), which operates them. Companies using nuclear energy are also struggling as a result of more use of alternative and renewable energy, the magazine said.

Some 127 IFE employees will be laid off in the coming weeks, 72 in Halden and 55 in Kjeller. Some will be kept on to work 50% at the reactors, both of which date from the 1950s and have been dedicated to international research projects under the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency. IFE chief Nils Morten Huseby said the staff cuts would not affect safety. The Halden reactor (a 25MWt heavy water moderated boiling water reactor) will be shut down immediately, while the Kjeller JEEP II reactor (a 2MWt multi-purpose, tank type, heavy water cooled and moderated reactor) is due to close in December.

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