Owners of the three-unit Oskarshamn nuclear power plant on the east coast of Sweden said Wednesday that it would permanently shutter the oldest two units at the plant due to economic factors that put profits from nuclear power out of reach in both the short term and the long term.
The plant, as of today, is comprised of three reactors: Unit 1 is a 473 MWe boiling water reactor (BWR), which began its commercial operations in 1972. Unit 2 is a 638 MWe BWR, which started up in 1974. Unit 3 is the largest and youngest: A 1400 MWe BWR that began operations in 1985.
Unit 3 at the facility 19 miles north of Oskarshamn, Sweden, was not affected by Wednesday's decision, the company said.
The plant's Unit 2, offline for maintenance since May 2013, will remain so. OKG AB, which owns the plant, said it would not invest anymore money in the unit, but leave it off for eventual decommissioning. Unit 1 would remain operating for the time being, but will be shut down on a schedule that will be established once a plan for decommissioning is in place.
However, OKG said the unit would operate “in accordance with the established plan,” which would point to a closure of Unit 1 between 2017 and 2019.
“Oskarshamn 3 is at present considered able to continue the production of climate-friendly electricity during is entire technical lifetime until the year of 2045, and OKG will thus still be one of the major employers in Oskarshamn,” the company said.
The plant's managing director Johan Svenningsson called the decision to shutter Units 1 and 2 “tremendously sad,” adding that no pink slips would be issued to employees just yet. “But planning has been initiated regarding adjusting the organization based on the conditions tat we now have to adapt to,” he said.
Svenningsson said that safety through the shut down process would not be compromised by layoffs.
The nuclear power plant is owned by OKG AB of which the largest shareholder is German utility E.On. The minority shareholder, Fortum, which confirmed the decision to shutter the two units, had said it was opposed to closing the plant, which, with three units operating, creates 10 percent of the electricity generated in the country.
Fortum estimated that the hit the company would take, penciled into the books in the third quarter of 2015, would be $800 million.
OKG is 54.5-percent owned by E.ON and 45.5-percent by Fortum, a Finnish company.
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