Restart of Sweden’s Ringhals 4 nuclear reactor delayed to end of November

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The restart of Sweden’s Ringhals 4 nuclear reactor will be delayed by three months after a key component was damaged following an annual maintenance and fuel replacement shutdown earlier this month.

The reactor, which is located on Sweden’s west coast and has an installed capacity of 1,130 megawatt electrical (MWe), is expected to restart electricity production on November 30, state-controlled Ringhals said late on Tuesday.

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The extended outage comes at a critical time as energy prices soar across Europe and countries scramble to ensure there is enough output for the coming winter.

“In connection with a mandatory test at start-up after the month-long shutdown, the plant’s pressure vessel was damaged,” the company said in a separate statement on Wednesday.

“It is very unfortunate that Ringhals 4 will be idle for a longer period than planned. We will do our utmost to restore the facility so that electricity production can restart,” it added.

Ringhals said the incident at the reactor had no impact on reactor safety.

The 84-tonne pressure vessel serves to prevent the water from not boiling despite high temperatures in the reactor.

Meanwhile, grid operator Svenska Kraftnat on Wednesday warned of increased risks this winter that power shortages may force it to temporarily shut down parts of the grid in southern Sweden, which depends partly on imported electricity.

Several factors including the energy conflict between Russia and Europe, uncertainty around gas deliveries on the European continent, reduced electricity output in France, and the delayed restart of Ringhals 4 contributed to the assessment, the operator said in a statement.

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