Norsk Kjernekraft has submitted a proposal to Norway's Ministry of Oil & Energy (OED) for an assessment of the construction of a power plant comprising multiple small modular reactors (SMRs). This represents “the first formal step towards the investigation of a concrete nuclear power plant in Norway”, Norsk Kjernekraft said. Once the programme has been determined, the impact assessment can begin.

According to the preliminary plan, the plant is to be located in a common industrial area in the border area between Aure and Heim municipalities. Other areas in those municipalities may also be relevant. The NPP will consist of several SMRs, which together will produce around 12.5 TWh annually. This would increase Norway's power production of approximately 8%.

In May, Norsk Kjernekraft signed agreements with the Norwegian municipalities of Aure, Heim and Narvik to investigate the possibilities for establishing SMRs. Aure and Heim, together with Norsk Kjernekraft, have identified a suitable area for the plant.

The impact investigation cannot start until the programme has been clarified with OED, and Norsk Kjernekraft is planning a transparent process with involvement of the local population. If the impact assessment shows that the facility can be built within acceptable limits, licensing processes will follow in accordance with Norwegian laws and regulations leading to possible construction. In addition, Norsk Kjernekraft said several important milestones must be achieved before major investments and final decisions can be taken.

Norsk Kjernekraft CEO Jonny Hesthammer said Aure and Heim are on side “and with political will and acceptance among the citizens, we can have nuclear power in place in 10 years, depending on how quickly the authorities process the application”. He pointed out that half of Norway's total energy consumption is still fossil fuels. “The power plant planned in Aure and Heim will thus contribute to significant electrification and emission reductions. With good maintenance, the plant can last up to a hundred years. It will therefore be able to deliver cheap electricity to the inhabitants for many decades after it has been paid off."

Image: The proposed location for the SMR plant (courtesy of Norsk Kjernekraft)