Vattenfall awards contract to dismantle Ringhals 1 and 2 nuclear reactor tanks

Ringhals 1 was shut down on 31st December 2020 after nearly 45 years of power operation while Ringhals 2 was taken out of service a year prior to that

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Vattenfall has awarded a contract to Westinghouse Electric Sweden to dismantle reactor tanks and the internal parts as well as the fuel racks at the Ringhals 1 and 2 nuclear power plant.

The physical work of decommissioning the large radioactive components at the nuclear reactors will start in April 2023 at the earliest.

The work will be performed with remote-controlled underwater tools to protect from radiation, following which the reactor tanks will be segmented starting at Ringhals 1, with the water emptied and the tank covered by a lid.

The fuel racks will also be decontaminated and cut down to manageable sizes.

In total, the current components weight around 1,500 tonnes, out of which a vast majority is radioactive.

Vattenfall estimates the dismantling of Ringhals 1 and 2 will create 340,000 tonnes of waste, out of which 5% to 10% is radioactive.

The materials that are proved to be free from radioactivity will be used as spare parts or recycled at the facilities.

The radiological dismantling of Ringhals 1 and 2 is expected to last for almost a decade.

Christopher Eckerberg, Head of Nuclear Decommissioning at Vattenfall said: “Vattenfall’s mission is to dismantle and dispose of used reactors and other components in the same way they have been operated: safely and efficiently. The agreement with Westinghouse Electric means that it is clear how the large radioactive components at Ringhals 1 and 2 shall be dismantled and this also sets the framework for other dismantling activities in the facilities.

“I am proud that Vattenfall takes responsibility for the entire life cycle of nuclear power and I welcome Westinghouse Electric as our partner for this important work.”

Ringhals 1 was shut down on 31st December 2020 after nearly 45 years of power operation while Ringhals 2 was taken out of service a year prior to that.

Electricity generation, however, continues at Ringhals 3 and 4 reactors, which provide around 12% of Sweden’s power production.

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