A possible problem with a rubber seal inside the containment of Sweden’s Forsmark 1 reactor has prompted operators Vattenfall to suspend operations at the reactor and its similar sister, Unit 2.

A part of the sealing at Forsmark 1 when examined showed possible degradation and a statement from Vattenfall said that for seven months Forsmark Kraftgrupp AB had operated reactor 1 with a rubber packing inside the reactor containment which had not been controlled in accordance with the internal routines. A test rubber sample was taken during routine revision last June. When the test result had been analysed, it was clear that the elasticity of the rubber packing was insufficient.

Operators Forsmark Kraftgrupp classed the deteriorated function of the rubber packing in the reactor containment at Forsmark 1 as a category 1 incident and preliminarily as level 1 on the international INES scale, which signifies a deviation from normal operation. The rubber packing in Unit 1 will be changed while test results from Forsmark 2 showed that the rubber packing in the reactor containment is fully operable.

In related news, the plant manager at Forsmark, Lars Fagerberg, resigned as a consequence of recent events, having decided that he no longer has the full confidence of the board. Fagerberg has been replaced by Jan Edberg as managing director of Forsmark, a position he already held 1997 – 2000. In 2001 he became managing director of Ringhals and Barsebäck stations.

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