PREAMBLE AND SUMMARY
This report provides information on the status and development of nuclear power programmes in Sweden, including factors related to the effective planning, decision making and implementation of the nuclear power programme that together lead to safe and economical operation of nuclear power plants.
The CNPP summarizes organizational and industrial aspects of nuclear power programmes and provides information about the relevant legislative, regulatory and international framework in Sweden.
Sweden currently has seven nuclear power reactors in operation. The oldest reactors in the nuclear fleet are being shut down and enter decommissioning, while the six newest reactors will enter long term operation. There are currently no plans to expand the nuclear fleet by building new reactors. The licensing of the final repository for spent nuclear fuel is ongoing.
1. COUNTRY ENERGY OVERVIEW
1.1. ENERGY INFORMATION
1.1.1. Energy policy
Sweden’s energy policy aims to promote security of supply, competitiveness and ecological sustainability.
Security of supply is dependent on the energy system’s capacity, flexibility and resilience and it relates to the diversification and the robustness of the country’s energy infrastructure. Security of supply is primarily pursued through efficient energy markets and the development of policies to avoid energy shortages and mitigate their potential impact. For the electricity system, this implies that the available production capacity must be able to meet the end users’ demand, as an unbalance between the country’s production and consumption would negatively affect supply security.
Competitiveness in the energy sector promotes an efficient use of resources and creates low energy prices, which is an important factor in ensuring the competitiveness of the Swedish industry.
A reduced climate impact is one of the goals of the country’s climate policy. In 2017, the Parliament decided on a net zero emission target for year 2045, to be achieved through a reduction of greenhouse gases emissions by 63% in 2030 and by 75% in 2040, compared to the 1990 emission levels. Furthermore, the Parliament decided that emissions from the transportation sector in 2030 should be 70% lower than in 2010.
Since the energy sector represents a sizable contribution to the country’s total emission of greenhouse gases, the country’s emission targets translate into goals related to energy efficiency and to enhance the total share of energy production by renewable sources.
After the multiparty Energy Commission announced an overall agreement on Sweden’s energy policy in June 2016 and published its final report on 9 January 2017, the Parliament approved the following goals for Sweden’s energy policy:
50% more efficient energy consumption should be in place by 2030, compared to 2005.
100% of electricity production should be derived from renewable sources by 2040. This number is intended as a target; it is not to be interpreted as a deadline for banning nuclear power, nor does it imply closing of nuclear power plants through political decisions.
In addition to nuclear power, Sweden’s energy requirements are covered by domestic production, in the form of hydropower, wind power, wood fuels (including residues from the forestry industry), and municipal waste, as well as by imported energy, primarily oil, nuclear fuel, coal and natural gas.
Nuclear power still plays an important role in Sweden’s energy system, though Sweden already obtains a large proportion of its energy supplies from renewable energy sources in the form of biofuels, hydropower and wind power. In 2018, 55% of the total energy used came from renewable energy sources and the share of electricity production from renewable sources was 56%.
1.1.2. Estimated available energy
Table 1 shows Sweden’s estimated available energy by source. The main domestic energy sources are hydropower, wind power and biofuels.
Hydropower is already well developed in Sweden. The remaining unexploited resources are protected under Swedish law from further expansion of hydropower and therefore they cannot be interpreted as potential sources of renewable energy.
Sweden possesses large amounts of low grade uranium. However, the uranium content in the ore is low or very low and there has not been an economic incentive to exploit it. Furthermore, uranium mining has been forbidden under Swedish law since 1 August 2018. All nuclear fuel is therefore imported.
TABLE 1. ESTIMATED AVAILABLE ENERGY SOURCES
|Total amount in specific units*||49001)||16.32)||—|
|Total amount in exajoules (EJ)|
*Solid, Liquid: Million tonnes; Gas: Billion m3; Uranium: Metric tonnes; Hydro, Renewable: TW.
—: data not available.
1) Reasonably assured resources
2) Data refers to the exploited resources.
Source: Uranium Resources, Production and Demand, 2018, Swedish Energy Agency
1.1.3. Energy consumption statistics
Table 2 shows information on energy consumption in Sweden.
TABLE 2. ENERGY CONSUMPTION
|Years||Compound annual growth rate (%)|
|Source||2000||2005||2010||2015||2018||2000 to 2018|
|Coal, Lignite and Peat||57 262||68 232||58 903||53 144||51 801||-0.56%|
|Oil||593 227||542 168||470 452||391 925||421 701||-1.88%|
|Natural gas||19 990||22 817||28 459||28 076||29 440||2.17%|
|Bioenergy and Waste||221 397||197 835||237 732||271 106||290 317||1.52%|
|Electricity||463 405||470 508||472 376||449 487||461 146||-0.03%|
|Heat||148 833||174 972||215 656||175 981||186 593||1.26%|
|1 504 113||1 476 532||1 483 579||1 369 721||1 440 998|
*Latest available data, please note that compound annual growth rate may not be representative of actual average growth.
—: data not available.
Source(s): United Nations Statistical Division, OECD/IEA and IAEA RDS-1
1.2. THE ELECTRICITY SYSTEM
1.2.1. Electricity system and decision making process
Sweden’s electricity market was deregulated in 1996, granting consumers the possibility to choose their supplier of electric energy. The distribution network is set up as a regulated monopoly, but with a number of different owners. The main marketplace for the trading of electricity is the Nordic power market Nord Pool, which serves as a spot market for trading electricity per hour for delivery the next day. Most of the trade per hour takes place through Nord Pool, while a smaller portion is made directly between electricity producers and electricity trading companies. Nord Pool also has a market for intraday trading, allowing traders and producers to more easily establish short term balance between production and consumption.
The responsibility to maintain the balance between production and consumption of electricity lies with the system operator for electricity, the state authority Svenska Kraftnät, also owner of the national high voltage transmission grid.
Svenska Kraftnät is in the process of expanding and strengthening the national transmission grid in order to accommodate electricity produced in new power plants, in particular wind turbine plants. Ageing infrastructure and increase in demand from new sectors such as data centres and electrification of transport and industry also drive large investments in the transmission grid. A list of ongoing projects can be found on Svenska Kraftnät’s website.
Any expansion of the transmission grid, including most of the regional distribution grids, requires a network concession from the Swedish Energy Market Inspectorate, the authority regulating electricity network operations in Sweden. The process aims to find the best route for new transmission lines but also to show why a new line is needed. This process requires environmental impact assessments and other studies, but also stakeholder involvement in the form of early discussions with local authorities such as the affected County Administrative Boards and municipal authorities, as well as meetings with local citizens.
Large electricity producers and regional grids can connect to the national high voltage transmission grid by applying to Svenska Kraftnät. Svenska Kraftnät determines if the connection is technically possible and whether it requires strengthening the transmission grid; in these cases, Svenska Kraftnät charges the applicant a connection fee. However, capacity increases or other needed modifications of the transmission grid that are not directly caused by a single party, such as increases in transfer capacity between different parts of the country, are covered by Svenska Kraftnät’s normal fees and tariffs.
1.2.2. Structure of electric power sector
Sweden is a net exporter of electricity. In 2018, total electricity production in Sweden amounted to 159.6 TWh while the consumption was 142.4 TWh. Most of the electricity produced comes from hydropower and nuclear power plants. In 2018, this production represented, respectively, 38% and 41% of the total production. The remaining share is produced by conventional thermal power, wind power and other renewables. The share of electricity produced by wind power is increasing. In 2018, it represented 10% of the total electricity production. The total number of operating wind turbines in 2018 was 3569 for a total installed capacity of 7.3 GW(e).
On the consumption side, the manufacturing and mining sector represented a share of 34% of the total consumption in 2018, while services and households represented 30% and 25% of the total consumption, respectively.
Utilities in the electric power sector are power plant and transmission grid owners, and are active on the retail electricity market as well. The companies carrying out production and transmission operations are separate and independent legal entities.
The biggest electricity producers in Sweden are the three utilities Vattenfall, Uniper and Fortum. Together, these utilities oversee a share of around 70% of the total production. Other sizable electricity producers are Statkraft and Skellefteå Kraft, controlling around 10% of the total production.
There is a geographical imbalance in electricity production and consumption in the country, whereby some regions are net electricity exporters while others are net importers. The northern part of Sweden, for example, by virtue of its hydroelectric power plants, in 2016 accounted for 38% of the production and only 18% of the consumption, whereas the Stockholm region accounted for only 1% of the production but 16% of the consumption.
Electricity is transmitted from the producers to the consumers by the national high voltage transmission grid, regional grids and local grids. Sweden’s electricity network consists of 56 000 km of power lines, of which approximately 68% are underground cables, predominantly in the local grids.
There are around 170 grid operators in Sweden. The national high voltage transmission grid (400 kV/220 kV) is owned by Svenska Kraftnät and consists of 15 500 km of power lines, about 160 substations and switching stations and 16 connections to other countries. The regional grids (voltage between 130 kV and 40 kV) transmit electricity from the national grid to large electricity consumers and to local grids. The local grids serve the remaining end consumers. Most of the regional grids are owned by three grid operators: Vattenfall Eldistribution, E.ON Energidistribution and Ellevio.
1.2.3. Main indicators
Table 3 shows information on electricity production in Sweden, and Table 4 contains energy related ratios for the country. The amount of electricity produced by wind power depends on weather conditions. Nuclear power is used for baseload production while hydropower is used for load following.
TABLE 3. ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION
|Years||Compound annual growth rate (%)|
|Source||2000||2005||2010||2015||2018||2000 to 2018|
|Coal, Lignite and Peat||2 536||1 926||2 675||1 261||1 221||-3.98%|
|Oil||1 533||1 379||1 774||252||379||-7.47%|
|Natural gas||462||585||2 877||425||564||1.11%|
|Bioenergy and Waste||4 342||8 357||13 397||11 968||13 234||6.39%|
|Hydro||78 619||72 874||66 501||75 439||62 151||-1.30%|
|Nuclear||57 316||72 377||57 828||56 348||68 603||1.00%|
|Wind||457||935||3 487||16 322||16 734||22.14%|
|145 266||158 435||148 548||162 112||163 291|
*Latest available data, please note that compound annual growth rate may not be representative of actual average growth.
**Electricity transmission losses are not deducted.
—: data not available.
Source: United Nations Statistical Division, OECD/IEA and IAEA RDS-1
TABLE 4. ENERGY RELATED RATIOS
|Nuclear/total electricity (%)||39||46||38||34||34|
*Latest available data.
Source: RDS-1 and RDS-2
—: data not available.
2. NUCLEAR POWER SITUATION
2.1. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT AND CURRENT ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
A national nuclear programme was started in 1947 and its implementation was led by AB Atomenergi, a joint venture between the Swedish State and the private sector.
The first research reactor, R1, located at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, achieved first criticality in 1954. Research reactors R2 and R2-0 were built in Studsvik and started operation at the beginning of the 1960s.
The construction of the first prototype nuclear power plant, Ågesta, started in 1957. The Swedish engineering company ASEA was the main contractor involved in the design. Ågesta was a pressurized water reactor cooled by heavy water (PHWR), with a thermal power of 80 MW(th). The reactor was built in a bedrock cave near a suburb of Stockholm and was mainly used for district heating. Commercial operation started in 1964 and the plant was permanently shut down in 1974. Another PHWR based on the Ågesta design was to be built in Marviken, with ASEA as the reactor supplier. A new design based on a boiling water reactor concept was proposed in 1963 and construction started in 1964. Because of technical and financial considerations, its construction was abandoned in 1971. By that time, light water reactors were the preferred technology owing to the lower financial commitments needed to build and operate them in Sweden. By 1965, ASEA was awarded a contract for the design of a BWR to be built in Oskarshamn. This unit, Oskarshamn 1, started operation in 1972. In 1968, ASEA-Atom, a joint venture between the Swedish State and ASEA, was created, and between 1974 and 1985 another 11 nuclear power reactor units began operation at the sites in Barsebäck, Oskarshamn, Ringhals and Forsmark. Eight of these new reactors were BWRs of ASEA-Atom design while the remaining three were 3-loop PWRs of Westinghouse design built in Ringhals.
Public support for nuclear power declined after the accident at Three Mile Island, and a referendum on nuclear power was held in Sweden in 1980. As a result of the referendum, the Government decided that nuclear power should be phased out by 2010. Furthermore, it was decided that all the existing nuclear power plants had to be equipped with severe accident mitigation systems, including a system for filtered venting, before the end of 1988.
In 1988, two years after the Chernobyl accident, the Government decided to begin the phase-out at an earlier date than originally planned and to close one unit in Barsebäck and one in Ringhals in 1995 and 1996. The decision was reversed in 1991. In 1997, the 2010 phase-out target was dropped altogether. At the same time, the Government decided to permanently shut down the nuclear power plant in Barsebäck and the two units in Barsebäck terminated operation in 1999 and 2005.
In 2004, Studsvik Nuclear AB decided to shut down the two research reactors at the Studsvik site. The Studsvik research reactors were closed in June 2005 and decommissioning was completed in 2019.
During the 2000s and 2010s, the nuclear power plants in Forsmark, Oskarshamn and Ringhals underwent extensive modernization, in order to meet new regulation requirements introduced in 2004. In the same period, an ambitious programme of power uprates started.
The Fukushima accident in 2011 and the European Union stress test that followed led to the formulation in 2014 of a National Action Plan, where the regulator decided that any nuclear power reactor in operation after 2020 should be equipped with an independent core cooling system. The system should be designed to provide core cooling independently of all other emergency core cooling systems, and able to withstand extended loss of main heat sink and of power supply.
In 2015, the owners of the power plants in Oskarshamn and Ringhals decided on the closure of Oskarshamn 1 and 2 and Ringhals 1 and 2 ahead of the originally planned shutdown date. This decision was based on low profitability in the electric power production sector, combined with the need for plant modifications to meet the new regulatory requirements. As a result, Oskarshamn 2, not in operation since 2013 owing to an ongoing modernization project, was never restarted and Oskarshamn 1 terminated operation in 2017. Ringhals 2 terminated operation in December 2019 and Ringhals 1 is to be shut down in December 2020.
The profitability issues in the nuclear industry were addressed within the overall agreement on Sweden’s energy policy in June 2016 when the multiparty Energy Commission proposed to remove a tax on installed reactor capacity. Subsequently, this tax was lifted by the Government. In parallel, a compensatory increase in the tax on electricity was introduced, however, with an exemption for electricity-intensive industry.
In 2021, six nuclear reactors will be in operation in Sweden: three units in Forsmark, two in Ringhals and one in Oskarshamn. The licensees of these reactors currently plan for 60 years of operation, until the 2040s. There is currently no official end date for nuclear energy in Sweden.
In principle, new nuclear power reactors may be built at existing reactor sites to replace existing and closed reactors. However, the total number of reactors in Sweden at any time is limited to ten.
2.1.2. Current organizational structure
Sweden’s nuclear power plants are largely co-owned by several utilities (additional information is provided in Fig. 4 in Section 2.5).
The licensees according to the Act on Nuclear Activities are the three nuclear power plant operators Forsmarks Kraftgrupp AB, OKG AB and Ringhals AB. Sweden’s regulator, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM), reports to the Ministry of Environment and is tasked with the responsibility of the oversight of nuclear power plant safety.
The Swedish State has a stake in the ownership of nuclear power plants since the Swedish utility Vattenfall is a state-owned enterprise reporting to the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation.
The nuclear safety strategy employed by the regulator in Sweden is to drive continuous safety improvements based on regular and systematic reassessments, aiming at ensuring compliance with legal requirements, modern requirements and up-to-date design basis. The strategy also includes identification of further safety improvements by taking into account ageing issues, operational experience, the most recent research and development (R&D), and developments in international standards.
2.2. NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS: OVERVIEW
2.2.1. Status and performance of nuclear power plants
There are seven nuclear power reactors in operation in Sweden, as shown in Table 5 and Fig. 1. Six nuclear power reactors have been permanently shut down, namely Ågesta, Barsebäck 1 and 2, Oskarshamn 1 and 2, and Ringhals 2. All BWRs were designed by the Swedish vendor ASEA-Atom (later ABB Atom, now Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB) and all PWRs, except Ågesta (an ASEA design), were designed by Westinghouse.
Fig. 2 shows the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) events in Sweden since 1991.
TABLE 5. STATUS AND PERFORMANCE OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
|Data source: IAEA - Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).|
|Note: Table is completely generated from PRIS data to reflect the latest available information and may be more up to date than the text of the report.|
FIG. 1. Location of the nuclear facilities in Sweden. Source: Sweden’s 8th National Report under the Convention on Nuclear Safety .
FIG. 2. International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) events in Sweden since 1991. Source: Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.
In 2018, the nuclear share of electricity generation in Sweden was 41%. In the same year, Sweden’s nuclear power plants averaged a unit capability factor of 89%.
In the period 2010–2019, nine events were classified as Level 1 events according to the INES scale. The last event classified as Level 2 was in 2006 at Forsmark 1, and resulted in the loss of power in two safety trains. The event identified a number of design deficiencies related to electrical power supply to systems and components important to safety in nuclear power plants. The findings led to a new focus on the robustness of safety related electrical systems, both nationally and internationally, for example within the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD/NEA).
2.2.2. Plant upgrading, plant life management and licence renewals
A reactor’s highest allowed thermal power is specified in the operating licence. Since the licence is granted by the Government, in order to perform a power uprate, the licensee must apply to the Government to obtain a change of the licence condition regarding the reactor thermal power, in accordance with the Act on Nuclear Activities.
Depending on the magnitude of the power uprate, a power increase can affect the facility to varying degrees. Therefore, conditions and parameters that might affect safety must be identified and analysed in order to sufficiently demonstrate that the safety requirements can be met at the new power level. Consequently, planning as well as reviewing a power uprate are key aspects to ensure that there is no impact on plant safety.
Regulatory requirements stipulate that, before entering the test programme with operation at uprated power, the licensee must update the safety report with as-built information. Before the plant enters routine operation after the uprate, the safety report should be updated to include lessons learned during the test programme.
In its regulatory review of a power uprate application, SSM checks that the licensee complies with applicable safety requirements.
Several reactors in Sweden were uprated in the 1980s, with additional power uprates over the past 12 years. The levels are illustrated in Fig. 3.
FIG. 3. Power uprates levels of reactors in operation in Sweden during 2019. Source: Sweden’s 8th National Report under the Convention on Nuclear Safety .
Proposed plant modifications are submitted to SSM. The regulator might in this case review the submitted modification or some part of it. An overview of major plant modifications performed in the nuclear power plants currently in operation in Sweden is available in Appendix 1 of Sweden’s National Report under the Convention on Nuclear Safety.
The operational licence assigned to a licensee in Sweden does not contain time limitations. However, at any moment during a plant’s lifetime, the regulator might define requirements for continued operation, including requirements that imply plant modifications. For example, after the accident at Three Mile Island, severe accident management systems (including the filtered containment venting system) were required at the Swedish nuclear power plants. Extensive modernization programmes were also required in 2005 and completed in 2015 for all nuclear power plants in Sweden in order to meet new requirements issued by the regulator in 2004. In 2014, SSM required the introduction of an independent core cooling system for nuclear power plants operating after 2020.
2.2.3. Permanent shutdown and decommissioning process
The responsibility for decommissioning and waste disposal lies with the licensee. To ensure that financing is available for future decommissioning and disposal of spent fuel and nuclear waste, including the research needed for these activities, licensees must pay a fee on each kWh produced to a state controlled fund, the Nuclear Waste Fund, in accordance with the Act on Financing of Management of Residual Products from Nuclear Activities.
A revision of the financing act was promulgated in 2017, clarifying the principles for how the nuclear waste fee is calculated and how assets in the Nuclear Waste Fund are to be managed, in order to reduce the State’s financial risk. Based on the revised act, nuclear waste fees and financial guarantees for nuclear power plants were decided by the Government for the period 2018–2020. Decisions are always made for three year periods. The fees are calculated on the assumption that each reactor will generate electricity for 50 years, though always with a minimum remaining operating time of six years. If there are insufficient assets in the fund to pay for the costs, the licensees will nevertheless still be liable.
For a reactor site with no reactor in operation, the remaining costs for a permanently shut down reactor must be paid to the fund within three years. In addition, the power plant licensees must provide two separate financial guarantees in order to account for possible early shutdowns and costs that might results from unforeseen events. The Government’s decision in December 2017 on fees and financial guarantees for the period 2018–2020 for the first time took into account the utilities’ decisions from 2015 to shut down reactors in Oskarshamn and Ringhals, resulting in fewer production units paying for the future liabilities.
The nuclear waste fees for 2018–2020 are 0.033 SEK/kWh for Forsmark Kraftgrupp AB, 0.064 for OKG AB and 0.052 for Ringhals AB. Required financial guarantees on average amount to 14 billion SEK per licensee.
The Nuclear Waste Fund also handles disbursements from the fund. The National Debt Office, and in some cases the Government, decides how fund assets may be used.
Table 6 shows that status of the process of decommissioning the nuclear power plants in Sweden.
TABLE 6. STATUS OF DECOMMISSIONING PROCESS OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
|Reactor unit||Shutdown reason||Decommission strategy||Current decommissioning phase||Current fuel management phase||Decommissioning licensee||Licence terminated year|
|Ågesta||Economic||Dismantling after a care and maintenance phase||Preparation for large scale dismantling activities which are planned to start in 2020||Off-site storage||Vattenfall AB||2023|
|Oskarshamn-1||Economic||Immediate dismantling||Large scale dismantling activities (turbine, RPV)||Off-site storage||OKG AB||After the permanent shutdown of unit 31)|
|Oskarshamn-2||Economic||Immediate dismantling||Large scale dismantling activities (turbine, RPV)||Off-site storage||OKG AB||After the permanent shutdown of unit 31)|
|Barsebäck-1||Political||Dismantling after a care and maintenance phase||Large scale dismantling activities (turbine, RPV)||Off-site storage||Barsebäck Kraft AB||20452)|
|Barsebäck-2||Political||Dismantling after a care and maintenance phase||Large scale dismantling activities (turbine, RPV)||Off-site storage||Barsebäck Kraft AB||20452)|
|Ringhals-2||Economic||Immediate dismantling||Planning for D&D and preparatory activities||On-site storage||Ringhals AB||-|
Decommissioning and dismantling (D&D) of the reactor will be completed by 2028, release of site after the permanent shutdown of unit 3.
D&D of the reactor will be completed by 2028, interim storage of e.g. reactor internals until 2045, i.e. operation of final geological repository.
Barsebäck Kraft AB and OKG AB were granted a licence to decommission and dismantle Barsebäck 1 and 2 and Oskarshamn 1 and 2, respectively. Vattenfall AB was granted licences for dismantling and demolition of the Ågesta reactor. Ringhals AB has not yet applied for the authorization to proceed with dismantling and demolition of Ringhals 2. The unit is permanently shut down. The fuel was unloaded and is stored onsite until its transport to the central interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel (Clab). Planning for decommissioning and preparatory activities are ongoing.
2.3. FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF NUCLEAR POWER SECTOR
There are currently no plans to expand Sweden’s nuclear fleet.
2.4. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN CONSTRUCTION OF NPPs
There are currently no new nuclear power plant construction related activities taking place in Sweden.
2.5. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN OPERATION OF NPPs
Ownership of Sweden’s nuclear power plants is characterized by a high level of cross-ownership, as shown in Fig. 4. The key players in the nuclear power sector in Sweden are mainly large utilities such as Vattenfall AB, Sydkraft Nuclear Power AB, and Fortum Generation AB. These utilities own the plant operators Forsmark Kraftgrupp AB, OKG AB and Ringhals AB.
All BWRs in Sweden were designed by the domestic vendor ASEA-Atom, later merged into ABB Atom and then Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB. Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB provides engineering services to Sweden’s nuclear power plants and also owns a fuel fabrication plant located in Västerås.
FIG. 4. Utility and ownership structure.
All PWRs in Sweden were designed by Westinghouse Electric Company (USA). Other vendors active on the Swedish market are Framatome, Areva, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Siemens and Alstom.
Sweden’s nuclear power plant operators jointly own KSU, SQC, Norderf and SKB.
KSU (Kärnkraftsäkerhet och Utbildning) serves all nuclear power plants in Sweden and provides training for control room operators, including simulator training. KSU also provides training for maintenance personnel and general technical training for workers in the nuclear industry. Furthermore, KSU analyses national and international operational experience in support to the Swedish nuclear power plants.
SQC (Swedish Qualification Centre) is a company working with independent qualification in the area of non-destructive testing.
Norderf (formerly ERFATOM) is a collaboration between KSU, SKB and Nordic nuclear power plant operators whose goal is to analyse the industry’s operational experience with special focus on events in nuclear power plants in Sweden and Finland.
SKB, the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company, deals with spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. SKB owns and operates the central interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel (Clab) at the Oskarshamn site and the final repository for short-lived radioactive waste (SFR) at Forsmark. SKB is also responsible for R&D work in connection with the technical concept and location of the final repository for spent fuel, including the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory and the canister laboratory at Oskarshamn. SKB has applied for, and is currently waiting for a Government decision on, the construction and operation of a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark.
Studsvik AB is a company working with materials testing and nuclear fuel investigations. Its materials testing reactors are closed, but the company maintains operations at its own hot-cell laboratory for fuel investigations. The company also provides decommissioning and waste treatment services. Furthermore, the company provides engineering services and fuel and reactor management software.
2.6. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN DECOMMISSIONING OF NPPs
Under the Swedish Act on Nuclear Activities, the holder of a licence to operate a nuclear facility is also primarily responsible for the decommissioning and demolition of the facility. Thus, the nuclear power plant operators, Barsebäck Kraft AB, Forsmarks Kraftgrupp AB, OKG AB and Ringhals AB, are responsible for the decommissioning and demolition of their nuclear power plants and associated facilities on site.
Vattenfall AB is the majority owner of the nuclear power plants at the Forsmark and Ringhals sites. It has established a dedicated business unit for nuclear decommissioning. Vattenfall AB is also the licence holder for the permanently shut down nuclear reactor in Ågesta, where large scale dismantling and demolition is planned to start in 2020.
SKB, the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company, is delegated certain responsibilities relating to management, including transport and disposal of radioactive waste arising from operation and decommissioning of nuclear power plants.
Westinghouse Electric Sweden and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy are involved in decommissioning projects. Other contractors providing decommissioning services are Studsvik AB and Cyclife Sweden, an EDF subsidiary providing decommissioning and waste treatment services at the Studsvik site.
In addition, AB SVAFO, jointly owned by the nuclear power plant operators, is responsible for the decommissioning of certain older R&D facilities and for the management of the corresponding waste.
2.7. FUEL CYCLE INCLUDING WASTE MANAGEMENT
Uranium mining, conversion and enrichment do not take place in Sweden. A fuel fabrication plant, owned by Westinghouse Electric Sweden, is located in Västerås. Sweden’s nuclear power plants, however, also use fuel fabricated outside Sweden by other vendors such as Areva, GE and TVEL.
Operational radioactive waste is generated by nuclear reactors and fuel cycle facilities, such as Studsvik AB’s facilities and Westinghouse’s fuel fabrication plant. The radioactive waste produced during the early years of development of Sweden’s civil nuclear industry is stored either at the Studsvik site or at a final repository for radioactive waste.
In total, Sweden’s nuclear power programme is expected to generate approximately 20 000 m3 (12 600 tonnes) of spent fuel, based on the assumption of 60 years of reactor operation for the remaining units in operation after 2020.
The spent fuel from Sweden’s nuclear power plants is stored initially on site and then shipped to the interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel (Clab) at Oskarshamn. Transport of all spent nuclear fuel and most other nuclear waste is done by sea, as all nuclear power plants and most nuclear facilities in Sweden are situated along the coastline. The transport system for nuclear materials has operated since 1982, consisting of a transport ship, transport casks and containers, and terminal vehicles for loading and unloading. In 2013, the transport ship M/S Sigrid, a custom built vessel for transport of spent fuel and radioactive waste from the nuclear power plants to Clab, began operation and replaced M/S Sigyn (in operation since 1985).
The national waste programme also includes the waste treatment facilities at the Studsvik site, the repository for short lived and operational radioactive waste at the Forsmark site (SFR) and shallow land burials at the nuclear power plant sites and at the Studsvik site.
In addition to the existing geological repository SFR, SKB plans to design, construct and license three additional facilities in the future: a plant for the encapsulation of spent nuclear fuel at Oskarshamn (Clink), a final repository for spent nuclear fuel (SFK) at Forsmark, and a final repository for long lived intermediate level waste (SFL).
2.8. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
2.8.1. R&D organizations
In Sweden, R&D in nuclear technology is mainly concentrated at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH), Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg and Uppsala University.
Sweden’s three nuclear power plant operators, Westinghouse Electric Sweden and SSM jointly support these three universities through the Swedish Centre of Nuclear Technology (SKC), formed in 1992. SKC supports undergraduate and graduate education as well as research.
SKC opened in 1992 amid a pending nuclear phase-out decision and low student enrolment in nuclear studies. At that time, the industry and the regulator faced similar challenges in competence development, in general, and staff renewal in particular. The situation during the early days of SKC presents similarities to today’s situation, with the recent shutdown of three reactors and the planned shutdown of one more reactor out of the seven currently in operation in Sweden. This has introduced new challenges for maintaining sufficient nuclear competence in the country.
SSM provides financial support for basic and applied research at a number of Sweden’s universities, as well as for companies providing R&D services on related nuclear competency topics. The Swedish Government has given SSM the task of evaluating the R&D funding needed to maintain a national competence in the nuclear technology field to comply with European Union directives, conventions and IAEA standards. The evaluation identified R&D needs stemming from the presence of operating nuclear power reactors in the country while taking into account a decreasing number of reactors in operation in Sweden. SSM’s conclusion stipulates a need to increase R&D funding in the areas of reactor physics, thermal hydraulics, nuclear data, severe accidents and nuclear chemistry.
Vattenfall provided joint funding for a new bachelor’s degree programme on nuclear power at Uppsala University, launched in 2019. Moreover, the nuclear industry and Uppsala University have a long term cooperation agreement to train staff in nuclear technology and radiation protection within the Nordic Academy for Nuclear Safety and Security (NANSS). Over time, this effort has also resulted in closer contacts between students and the nuclear industry.
Furthermore, Vattenfall was a major partner in KIC InnoEnergy (Knowledge & Innovation Community) during the development of the master’s programme EMINE (European Master in Nuclear Energy), where students attend one year in Barcelona or at KTH, and one year in France. Around 20 students graduate annually from the EMINE programme. Discussions are in progress with Chalmers University of Technology on launching a similar programme.
In 2011, a large international project developing a joint research and education programme was established. Within this project, 15 PhD students from Sweden, with funding from the Swedish Research Council, spend a significant part of their study period at French laboratories working on Generation IV technology or the JHR project, a research reactor for fuel and material testing. Research groups at Chalmers University of Technology, KTH and Uppsala University received funding within the scope of this project.
2.8.2. Development of advanced nuclear power technologies
Sweden does not have a national programme for the development of advanced nuclear power technologies, but research projects on Generation IV technology have been supported and funded throughout the years. LeadCold Reactors, a KTH spinoff company, is developing a lead cooled reactor concept.
In 2019, the Swedish Research Council announced that funding will be provided for projects in the area of Generation IV technology, allowing researchers in Sweden to participate in major international research programmes. In addition, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research announced funding for research related to Generation IV technology to support the Sustainable Development Goals set in 2015 by the United Nations.
Vattenfall announced in 2020 that the company will take part in an Estonian pilot study on small modular reactors.
2.8.3. International cooperation and initiatives
Sweden actively participates in many international research projects. SSM collaborates on research projects conducted by the European Union and OECD/NEA in a wide range of fields, including fuel technology, thermal hydraulics and severe accidents. Sweden hosts the OECD/NEA Studsvik Cladding Integrity Project (SCIP-4), where experimental work is performed in the facilities of Studsvik Nuclear AB. SSM also provides funding for research organizations in Sweden that participate in European Union and OECD/NEA projects.
Moreover, SSM cooperates with other government agencies internationally, such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the United States of America, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) in Finland and the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI). In particular, cooperation with the NRC is important in order to have access to models and computer programs developed for three dimensional coupled thermal hydraulics simulations, neutron kinetic calculations, as well as severe accident analyses, within the Code Application and Maintenance Program (CAMP) and Cooperative Severe Accident Research Program (CSARP) agreements.
The cooperation with other Nordic countries is particularly active, for example within NKS (Nordic Nuclear Safety Research) and NPSAG (Nordic PSA Group).
NKS performs nuclear research within the areas of reactor safety and emergency preparedness and response. From Sweden’s side, NKS is financed by SSM, the nuclear power plants and SKB.
NPSAG is a forum focused on R&D needs in the field of probabilistic safety analysis (PSA). The NPSAG members are the nuclear power plants in Sweden and Finland and the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB). SSM as well as the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) in Finland are associate members of NPSAG, taking part in the funding of the projects within the group.
2.9. HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
SSM’s regulations clearly stipulate requirements for staffing, competence and training of personnel at nuclear facilities. The licensee is required to ensure that the staff has the competence needed to perform all tasks related to safety. To the extent applicable, these general requirements also apply to external contractors. Another requirement for safety related tasks is to ensure a careful balance between using in-house personnel and contractors. The competence necessary for hiring, managing and evaluating contractors should always exist within the organization operating a nuclear power plant.
The licensee should use a systematic approach to identify competence requirements for nuclear workers and to plan and evaluate all safety related training. Furthermore, the licensee should perform annual competence assessments. Long term planning is also required to guarantee that the workforce will have, even in the future, adequate competence for all tasks important from a safety perspective.
In 2018, the nuclear power plants had a total of 3 218 employees, down from 3 578 in 2016. The number of contractors employed during a reactor refuelling outage, normally lasting between two and five weeks, is between 500 and 1 000. Besides the nuclear power plant operators, Sweden’s nuclear industry includes fuel and equipment suppliers and a number of companies providing consulting and engineering services. A study published in 2016  estimated that the total workforce in the nuclear industry amounted to about 21 000 employees, including personnel employed in the country’s educational institutions and working in research areas related to nuclear power.
The Swedish Government has given SSM the task of evaluating staffing and competence needs over the long term among all stakeholders in the nuclear sector. The last evaluation was reported to the Government in 2018.
2.10. STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT
Stakeholder communication is an essential part of the work within the nuclear sector in Sweden, where openness and transparency are paramount.
In the municipalities where the nuclear power plants are located, there are local liaison safety committees. These committees gather information on safety related issues from the plant and make that information available to the public. The Government appoints the members of each committee based on proposals from the municipalities involved.
For issues related to the nuclear waste management programme, there is a formal consultation process where the industry communicates with representatives from the two municipalities involved (Oskarshamn and Östhammar), SSM and NGOs.
Furthermore, in 1992 the Government established the Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste, which has regular meetings with all central stakeholders. One objective for these meetings is to discuss which issues are most important for each stakeholder. Other activities managed by the Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste are seminars and hearings, which provide an opportunity for more in-depth discussions of specific topics.
Sweden’s regulator, SSM, also interacts and communicates with the stakeholders since, as for all governmental authorities in Sweden, openness and transparency towards the public are mandatory.
2.11. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Sweden’s emergency management system (Fig. 5) distinguishes between authorities having jurisdiction in a specific region (municipality, county or country) and authorities having mandates within specific areas of expertise, for instance SSM in the fields of nuclear safety and radiation protection. The system is based on collaboration between authorities in order to effectively coordinate the use of available resources. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has the task of supporting coordination between the public sector and various stakeholders.
A licensee is required to take prompt actions in the event of an emergency, in order to activate the plant’s emergency response organization, and to notify SSM. The licensee has the responsibility and the mandate to take any necessary action to return the facility to a stable state including actions that might lead to a release, for example the activation of containment venting.
SSM assesses the risk and magnitude of possible radioactive releases and time related aspects, based on the information provided by the licensee, and provides recommendations and expert advice to other authorities, including those responsible for deciding on protective actions for the public. The recommendations may include protective actions, radiation protection assessments, dispersion prognoses and radiation monitoring. Furthermore, SSM is tasked with the responsibility to keep the Government informed about the situation and its possible developments as requested by the Secretariat for Crisis Management at the Ministry of Justice, or by MSB.
The National Food Agency and the Board of Agriculture also have key roles during a nuclear emergency. The National Food Agency is responsible for taking decisions on maximum permitted levels of radioactive materials in foodstuffs. The Board of Agriculture is responsible for taking decisions on maximum permitted levels in feed. Other authorities that cooperate with SSM during a nuclear emergency are the County Administrative Boards, the Board of Health and Welfare, Swedish Customs, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), the Police Authority, and the Swedish Coast Guard. SMHI assists SSM by providing weather forecasts, weather data and certain dispersion calculations in the event of a nuclear emergency.
The County Administrative Board appoints a rescue commander who decides on issuing warnings and communicating to the population affected, and who determines which actions to take to protect the public. The responsibility for directing rescue services also rests with the County Administrative Board in the affected county or counties, unless the Government decides otherwise. The County Administrative Board is also responsible for managing decontamination activities.
The Government is responsible for crisis management at the national level. The Government deals primarily with strategic issues. Responsibility for management and coordination of operational work rests with the relevant authorities. The Government is also responsible for maintaining certain contacts with international organizations.
FIG. 5. Sweden’s national structure for emergency preparedness and response for nuclear emergencies. Source: Sweden’s 8th National Report under the Convention on Nuclear Safety .
3. NATIONAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS
3.1. REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
3.1.1. Regulatory authority
The Atomic Energy Board (Delegationen för atomenergifrågor) was created in 1956, which is also when the first law in Sweden regulating nuclear energy was approved. This organization dealt with the utilisation of nuclear energy and reported to the Ministry of Commerce. Oversight of nuclear installations was delegated to a section of the Atomic Energy Board called the Reactor Siting Committee (Reaktorförläggningskommittén). The Atomic Energy Board was disbanded in 1974, when a regulatory body for nuclear safety, the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate (Kärnkraftinspektionen), was created. The Reactor Siting Committee then became an advisory board for the newly created Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate.
The Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate was responsible for regulating and overseeing the country’s nuclear activities from fuel fabrication to nuclear power plant operation and waste disposal. Issues such as security of nuclear installations and non-proliferation were within its scope of responsibility as well.
The need for regulatory oversight in the field of radiation protection was recognised early on with the introduction of a radiation protection law in 1941. Initially, this oversight focused on medical radiation protection and the responsibility to oversee radiation protection practices was given to the Department of Medical Radiation Physics at the Karolinska Institute. In 1960, the Swedish Government gave the department the task of creating an expert commission that could work as an advisory board to the Government in case of nuclear accidents.
In 1965, the Radiation Protection Institute (Strålskyddsinstitut) was created and took over the regulation and oversight of radiation protection issues. The Radiation Protection Institute defined, for example, acceptance criteria for the radiation doses to the general public and nuclear workers.
Given the partially overlapping areas of responsibility, the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate and the Radiation Protection Institute collaborated in some areas of nuclear safety and radiation protection.
In 2008 the two organizations were merged into a new regulatory authority, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten, SSM), with a mandate from the Swedish Government to regulate and perform oversight within the areas of nuclear safety and security, radiation protection and nuclear non-proliferation. It should be pointed out that the Swedish law regulates nuclear safety and security in an integrated manner. As a licensing authority for activities in the field of nuclear safety and radiation protection, SSM reviews licence applications and decides whether to issue a licence, or advises the Government on licences which are issued by the Government, such as the licence to build and operate a nuclear power plant or a final repository for spent fuel. SSM also provides recommendations and expert advice to other authorities and to the Government during emergencies involving radiation risks. Furthermore, SSM supports R&D activities in the field of nuclear safety and radiation protection and participates in international projects aimed to promote nuclear and radiation safety abroad.
SSM reports to the Ministry of the Environment and is led by a Director General appointed by the Government. SSM’s organization is shown in Fig. 6.
FIG. 6. Organization of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.
3.1.2. Licensing process
The licensing process for nuclear facilities is governed by several regulations with different purposes and therefore involves coordination by a number of different authorities.
New nuclear facilities and major modifications of existing facilities must be evaluated under both the Act on Nuclear Activities and the Swedish Environmental Code. As stipulated by the procedure for applications, a licence application must be submitted to the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, which will process the matter under the Act on Nuclear Activities, and to the Land and Environment Court, which will process the case under the Swedish Environmental Code. Applications in both kinds of matters, even matters under the Act on Nuclear Activities, are to be accompanied by an environmental impact assessment under Chapter 6 of the Environmental Code.
Fig. 7 illustrates the licensing process for the construction of a new nuclear facility. In the first step in the licensing process, the Government issues a statement of permissibility under the Swedish Environmental Code. The statement of permissibility is based both on an evaluation performed by the Land and the Environment Court on the basis of the Environmental Code and on an evaluation performed by SSM on the basis of the Act on Nuclear Activities. The Government may issue a positive statement of permissibility only if the municipal authority concerned accepts the siting of the facility within its municipality.
After the Government issues a statement of permissibility under the Environmental Code, licences need be issued for the nuclear facility according to the Act on Nuclear Activities, and also according to the Environmental Code since a nuclear facility is an environmentally hazardous activity.
The Land and Environment Court issues a licence according to the Environmental Code and determines licence conditions.
The Government issues the licence according to the Act on Nuclear Activities on the basis of a recommendation from SSM. The licence is subject to licence conditions, which are issued either by the Government or by SSM. For example, the maximum allowed thermal effect of a reactor is typically one of the licence conditions issued by the Government. Other conditions issued by the Government establish whether a formal approval from SSM is needed to begin construction, commissioning or regular operation. Based on these licence conditions, a stepwise review process follows, where SSM decides at each stage if the licensee is allowed to proceed to the next stage.
FIG. 7. Licensing process for nuclear facilities. Source: Sweden’s 8th National Report under the Convention on Nuclear Safety .
A licence application is reviewed in open court hearings at the Land and Environment Court. The applicant must describe all relevant aspects of its case and questions may be submitted during the proceedings. All interested parties are allowed to attend the hearings.
It should be noted that for all nuclear power reactors in operation in Sweden, the operating licence is not time limited. This means that the operation of a nuclear power reactor is allowed as long as the licensee meets the requirements set by the applicable laws, Government ordinances, SSM regulations and conditions imposed by the initial licence.
3.2. NATIONAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS IN NUCLEAR POWER
The following five enactments constitute the basic nuclear safety and radiation protection legislation in Sweden:
The Radiation Protection Act (2018:396), issued on 26 April 2018, last updated on 28 November 2019.
The Environmental Code (1998:808), issued on 11 June 1998, last updated on 28 November 2019.
The Act on the Financing of Management of Residual Products from Nuclear Activities (2006:647), issued on 8 June 2006, last updated on 9 November 2017.
The Nuclear Liability Act (1968:45), issued on 8 March 1968, last updated on 14 June 2018.
All acts and codes are supplemented by a number of ordinances and other secondary legislation, which contains more detailed provisions.
The Act on Nuclear Activities mainly addresses issues of nuclear safety and security, while the Environmental Code regulates the impact of environmentally hazardous activities in general.
The objective of the Radiation Protection Act is to protect people and the environment from harmful effects of radiation. The Act applies to radiation protection in general and, in this context, contains provisions regarding workers’ protection, radioactive waste management, and the protection of the general public and the environment.
The Act on the Financing of Management of Residual Products from Nuclear Activities contains provisions concerning the future costs of spent fuel disposal, decommissioning of reactors and research in the field of nuclear waste.
The Nuclear Liability Act implements Sweden’s obligations according to the 1960 Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy and the 1963 Brussels Convention Supplementary to the Paris Convention.
Other relevant acts are the Act on Control of Export of Dual-Use Products and Technical Assistance (2000:1064) and the Act on Inspections According to International Agreements on Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (2000:140). Emergency preparedness is regulated by the Civil Protection Act (2003:778). Matters related to transport of radioactive materials are regulated by the Act on Transport of Dangerous Goods (2006:263). Specific security matters are regulated by the Act on Protection of Important Facilities (1990:217) and the Act on Security Protection (1996:627).
After SSM was established, a new series of regulations, SSMFS (Strålsäkerhetsmyndighetens författningssamling), was created. In this series, all regulations issued by the former regulatory bodies the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate and the Radiation Protection Institute were re-issued as SSM regulations. There are about 30 such regulations in force. However, given SSM’s scope of responsibility, not all of SSM’s regulation concern nuclear power. Unofficial English versions for some of the regulations are provided on the official SSM website. General regulations on the safety of nuclear facilities are described in SSMFS 2008:1. Design and construction of nuclear power reactors are regulated by SSMFS 2008:17. Management of nuclear waste is regulated by SSMFS 2008:21 and SSMFS 2008:37. Emergency preparedness is regulated by SSMFS 2014:2. Transport of radioactive materials is regulated by SSMFS 2009:1. Radiation protection in nuclear power plants is regulated by SSMFS 2008:24 and SSMFS 2008:26.
A major update of all of SSM’s regulations is currently ongoing. The first of the new regulations entered into force in June 2018.
 HALLVARSSON & HALVARSSON, Kartläggning av Kärnkraftsbranschen i Sverige, 2016.
Appendix 1: International, Multilateral and Bilateral Agreements
Sweden is a member state of the IAEA, OECD/NEA and the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Agreements with the IAEA
Moreover, Sweden maintains bilateral agreements with Denmark, Norway, Finland, Germany, Ukraine and the Russian Federation regarding early notification and exchange of information in the event of an incident or accident at a nuclear power plant in Sweden or abroad. An agreement at regulatory body level was also signed with Lithuania.
SSM participates in regulatory networks such as the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA), Heads of European Radiation Control Authorities (HERCA), the International Nuclear Regulators Association (INRA) and the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG). In addition to multilateral collaborations, SSM currently has bilateral agreements with 13 regulatory bodies in various countries. These agreements concern the exchange of information and cooperation on agreed topical areas (e.g. nuclear safety, emergency preparedness, occupational exposure, environmental radiological protection, and radioactive waste management). Agreements exist with Australia, Belarus, Canada, France, Finland, Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lithuania, Russian Federation, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Appendix 2: main organizations, institutions and companies involved in nuclear power related activities
Name of report coordinator: Francesco Cadinu
Institution: Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, SSM
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org