SMR power plant proposed in Norway

03 November 2023

Norsk Kjernekraft has submitted a proposal to Norway's Ministry of Oil and Energy for an assessment into the construction of a power plant based on multiple small modular reactors (SMRs) in the municipalities of Aure and Heim. The company said it marks the first formal step towards the possible construction of the country's first nuclear power plant.

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

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%.

Norsk Kjernekraft entered into an agreement of intent earlier this year on the investigation of nuclear power with several municipalities, including Aure and Heim.

In June, the company 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.

Aure and Heim, together with Norsk Kjernekraft, have now found a suitable area, where the plant is planned "to ensure that the municipality's greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, while at the same time further green industry can be established".

Once the proposal for the plant has been approved by the Ministry of Oil and Energy, an environmental impact assessment can start. Norsk Kjernekraft said it was planning a transparent process with the public, with particular involvement of the local population.

If the impact assessment shows that the facility can be built within acceptable limits, licensing processes will follow in accordance with Norwegian laws and regulations, and finally construction will begin. The company noted that several important milestones must be reached before major investments and final decisions can be made.

"Aure and Heim are in the running, and with political will and acceptance among the citizens, we can have nuclear power in place in 10 years, depending on how quickly the authorities process the application," said Norsk Kjernekraft CEO Jonny Hesthammer. "Half of Norway's total energy consumption is still fossil fuels. The power plant planned in Aure and Heim will thus contribute to significant electrification and emission reductions. With good maintenance, the plant can last up to a hundred years. It will therefore be able to deliver cheap electricity to the inhabitants for many decades after it has been paid off."

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.

In July, Norsk Kjernekraft and Denmark's Seaborg signed a letter of intent to investigate the deployment of Seaborg's compact molten salt reactor in Norway.

However, the Norwegian company has said it intends to initially establish SMRs based on conventional technology.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News