Further Norwegian site identified for SMRs

05 April 2024

Norsk Kjernekraft has decided to initiate work on the impact assessment of a plot of land in Øygarden municipality, west of Bergen, to assess the possibility of establishing a nuclear power plant comprising up to five small modular reactors.

The prosed site in Øygarden (Image: Norsk Kjernekraft)

The company will compile a report, which will be sent to the Ministry of Oil and Energy for an assessment. The ministry will send the report out for consultation, and then the municipality, residents and industry will be able to make their comments. If approved by the ministry, the report and input will form the basis for an impact assessment.

The plot of land in question is adjacent to the Kollsnes industrial area. The 250-acre site is owned by landowner and former mayor of Øygarden, Rolv Svein Rougnø. Rougnø has entered into a letter of intent with Norsk Kjernekraft and the agreement outlines that the site can be acquired for use in the construction of small modular reactor (SMR) power plants.

Norsk Kjernekraft said the site has space for five SMRs, each with a generating capacity of 300 MWe. This means that the site has the potential for generating 12.5 TWh per year, corresponding to almost 10% of Norway's current total electricity consumption.

"This is another important milestone," said Norsk Kjernekraft CEO Jonny Hesthammer. "There are a great many municipalities that are now positive about investigation work being carried out. In this way, concrete knowledge can be acquired which can be used as a basis for decisions about whether nuclear power can be built in the municipality in the future. This must of course be done in consultation with both residents and municipal politicians. Without these being in place, there will be no nuclear energy in the municipality."

Norsk Kjernekraft aims to build, own and operate SMR power plants in Norway in collaboration with power-intensive industry. It says it will prepare licence applications in accordance with national regulations and international standards. It will follow the International Atomic Energy Agency's approach for milestones, and focus on what creates value in the early phase. Financing will take place in collaboration with capital-strong industry and solid financial players.

The company entered into an agreement of intent last year on the investigation of nuclear power with several municipalities.

In June 2023, it signed a letter of intent with TVO Nuclear Services - a consulting company wholly owned by Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj - to jointly investigate the deployment of SMRs in Norway. The cooperation included the assessment of the suitability and effectiveness of the development of nuclear power in the Norwegian municipalities of Aure, Heim, Narvik and Vardø.

In November, it submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Oil and Energy for an assessment into the construction of a power plant based on multiple SMRs in the municipalities of Aure and Heim. A corresponding report is in the process of being finalised for Vardø municipality.

A new company, Halden Kjernekraft AS, has also been founded by Norsk Kjernekraft, Østfold Energi and the municipality of Halden to investigate the construction of a nuclear power plant based on SMRs at Halden, where a research reactor once operated.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News