Norwegian town initiates nuclear plant zoning work

15 April 2024

The municipality of Heim in Trøndelag county, Norway, has announced the start of regulatory work for creating a zone for the construction of a nuclear power plant and the cancellation of previous plans for the zone.

The proposed location for the plant (Image: Norsk Kjernekraft)

Among the recipients of the notification are the Directorate for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (DSA), the Norwegian Armed Forces, the Norwegian Water and Energy Directorate (NVE), grid operator Statnett and the Environment Agency. 

"The regulatory plan will lay the foundation for the establishment of nuclear power plants, preferably in the form of small modular reactors (SMRs)," the municipality said.

The notification refers to a proposal submitted by Norsk Kjernekraft on 2 November last year to Norway's Ministry of Oil and Energy (OED) for an assessment into the construction of a power plant based on multiple SMRs in the municipalities of Aure and Heim.

According to the preliminary plan, the plant will be located in a common industrial area in the border area between Aure and Heim. Other areas in the municipalities may also be relevant, Norsk Kjernekraft noted. The plant is planned to consist of several SMRs, which together will produce around 12.5 TWh of electricity annually, if the plant is realised in its entirety. This corresponds to an increase in Norway's power production of about 8%.

"In accordance with Sections 12-8 and 12-14 of the Planning and Building Act, the commencement of work is notified at the same time as the cancellation of the current zoning plans in the area," the municipality said. "Taftøy industrial park is the name of an older development plan located on Taftøyan, northwest of Heim municipality. To the west, the planning area borders Aure municipality in Møre and Romsdal county. To the north, the planning area borders the former 680 [road]. About 300 metres east of the planning area is the zoning plan for the Taftøyan cottage area."

It added: "The older regulatory plans have not been realised and will be repealed when the area plan for the Taftøy nuclear power is adopted."

The deadline for any responses to Heim's notification is 15 May.

"Planned measures are covered by regulations on impact assessments and must have a planning programme and an impact assessment," the municipality noted. "The need for investigation for such a regulatory plan is currently uncertain, but will probably be clarified when the investigation programme that Norsk Kjernekraft sent to OED is confirmed. Proposals for the planning programme will be submitted for consultation and put out for public inspection when the need for a study for nuclear power plants is clear."

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.

"Heim and Aure municipalities are leaning forward to provide enough reliable power for industry and residents," said Norsk Kjernekraft CEO Jonny Hesthammer. "They are stepping up to the plate to get nuclear power in place as part of the solution together with renewables. In this way, security of supply is ensured, while the need for natural interventions can be reduced.

"Together with the two municipalities, Norsk Kjernekraft has submitted a report on the study programme to the Ministry of Energy. Now the municipalities are showing with action that they are serious, and the government and the ministries must take this on board. What we need now is precisely action, and no more delays."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News