Fortum, Westinghouse study new build opportunities

07 June 2023

Finnish utility Fortum and Westinghouse Electric Company of the USA have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore prerequisites for the development and deployment of new nuclear in Finland and Sweden. The agreement is related to Fortum's nuclear feasibility study launched in November 2022.

The signing of the MoU by Petra Lundström of Fortum and Elias Gedeon, senior vice president for Westinghouse Energy Systems (Image: Fortum)

"At Fortum, our strategic priorities are to deliver reliable clean energy and drive decarbonisation in industries in the Nordics," said Petra Lundström, Executive Vice President, Nuclear Generation at Fortum. "We are excited to extend our cooperation and explore the potential and prerequisites for new nuclear in Finland and Sweden with Westinghouse Electric Company."

"Fortum is a leader in providing safe, clean and reliable nuclear energy for the people of Finland and Sweden, as well as an important customer for our fuels and services businesses supporting Fortum's existing operating plants," said David Durham, President of Westinghouse Energy Systems. "We are thrilled to collaborate with Fortum to bring our proven and industry-leading, advanced passive safety nuclear technology to the Nordic region, delivering added energy security for many generations to come."

Last month, Westinghouse launched the AP300 small modular reactor (SMR), a scaled-down version of its AP1000 reactor, with a goal for the first one to deliver power to the grid within a decade.

Fortum said "any potential investment decisions [in new nuclear] will be made at a later stage".

Fortum's two-year feasibility study will examine the prerequisites for nuclear new build in Finland and Sweden, with both SMRs and conventional large reactors being considered. As part of the study, Fortum will examine commercial, technological and societal, including political, legal and regulatory, conditions for the construction of new reactors. The feasibility study will also consider the new build process, such as progress of planning, siting, and licensing. It will also investigate new partnerships and business models.

In addition to Westinghouse, Fortum has made cooperation agreements with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Rolls-Royce SMR of the UK, EDF of France, Sweden's Kärnfull Next and Finland's Outokumpu and Helen.

Fortum operates the Loviisa plant - comprising two VVER-440 type pressurised water reactors - which was the first nuclear power plant in Finland and currently provides more than 10% of the country's electricity. Loviisa unit 1 began commercial operation in 1977, with unit 2 following in 1981. In February this year, the Finnish government granted Fortum an extension to the operating licence for the two-unit Loviisa nuclear power plant, allowing the plant to continue generating power until the end of 2050.

The utility also holds stakes in units 1 and 2 of the Olkiluoto plant in Finland, as well as in units 1-3 of the Forsmark plant and unit 3 of the Oskarshamn plant, both in Sweden.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News