In Sweden, declining electricity prices and low demand is having a serious impact on the bottom line for operators of nuclear power plants.
Vattenfall, the Swedish state-owned utility, announced that it plans to close down two reactors at the Ringhals nuclear power plant earlier than previously planned due to increasing costs and decreasing profits.[i]
“Unfortunately, we see market conditions with continued low electricity prices in the coming years. At the same time, we are facing increasing production costs,” says Torbjörn Wahlborg, Head of Business Area Generation, Vattenfall.
The Unit 1 (BWR) and Unit 2 (PWR) reactors were the first two nuclear reactors constructed and operated in Sweden. Vattenfall had planned to operate the reactors for at least 50 years before decommissioning them, but was unable to keep operations profitable.[ii]
The utility also announced that it would further act to reduce operating costs by cutting 1,000 jobs.[iii]
The Swedish government decided in October 2014 to freeze future nuclear development projects, reversing a previous official stance which was in favor of expanding the nation’s nuclear generating capacity.[iv]