Barsebäck 2 ordered to close next year

11 October 2004

Barsebäck 2 will cease operation during 2005, becoming the second unit to be shut down as part of the Swedish government’s phase-out policy.

The first to be closed was Barsebäck 1 in 1999. In that case, the government agreed to compensate owner Sydkraft for the power the unit would have generated over the remainder of a 40-year nominal lifespan, settling for a total of €900 million.

Government negotiator Bo Bylund had hoped to reach an all-encompassing ‘German-style’ agreement based on market conditions with utilities and nuclear operators for the phase-out of the remaining 11 units, but reported to minister for trade and industry Leif Pagrotsky that this had been impossible. An individual agreement, presumed to be similar to that for Barsebäck 1, will now be made with Sydkraft and national utility Vattenfall.

Sticking points in negotiations were the utilities insistence that terms of the shutdown schedule would not be changed by later governments and the use of a 60-year lifespan assumption; whereas the government had wanted a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ and to use a 40-year lifespan. Sydkraft, Vattenfall and Fortum jointly stated: “We have been negotiating for two years and both sides have successively come closer to each other’s positions. Therefore we are surprised that the government decided to abandon the talks. It is in everybody’s interest to create clarity and predictable conditions for Swedish and Nordic industry. Here, nuclear power has an important role to play.”

Bylund foresees another closure may come early in the next decade with further shutdowns scheduled according to the ages of the units. The phase-out should be complete between 2020 and 2030, according to Bylund while Pagrotsky wishes for it to come “as soon as possible.”

There has been a mixed reaction to the decision by the ruling minority Social Democrat party: support has come from the main opposition party, the Centre Party, while Lars Leijonborg of the Liberal Party said: “The news today is expensive and bad. It will cost taxpayers €900 million and increase carbon dioxide emissions by 4%.” The Liberals suggested earlier this year that Sweden’s nuclear fleet should be expanded by two or three units to meet increased demand over the next 20 years.

Sweden must now plan to bridge the 600MWe generation gap that will be left by the unit. Pagrotsky’s ministry has announced a short-term plan of increasing the use of natural gas while the government’s long-term wish is to find all its energy from renewables. More immediate, however, will be the import of Russian-generated electricity from the Nordic grid.

  • The directors of Forsmark Kraftgruppe have voted to uprate the power of the three units of the Forsmark plant by a total of 410MWe between 2008 and 2010. There are five units in Sweden older than Forsmark’s. The SEK 2 billion ($275 million) project must be approved by local authorities following a consultation with residents. The increase in power would be almost equivalent to the current total consumption in Forsmark’s region of Uppsala.

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