A memorandum of understanding has been signed between Fortum and Swedish Kärnfull Next Ab to jointly explore opportunities in new nuclear for developing Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology in Sweden. The joint agreement is part of Fortum’s two-year feasibility study to explore business opportunities in new nuclear both in Finland and Sweden.
The collaboration will allow the companies to jointly address Swedish Small Modular Reactor projects which could lead to concrete feasibility studies. The schedule of the first operative SMR in Sweden is largely dependent on progress in permitting, licensing and legislation regarding the location and number of reactors in operation.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, SMRs are advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300 MW(e) per unit, which is about one-third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors. Given their smaller footprint, SMRs can be sited on locations not suitable for larger nuclear power plants. Prefabricated units of SMRs can be manufactured and then shipped and installed on site, making them more affordable to build than large power reactors, which are often custom designed for a particular location, sometimes leading to construction delays. SMRs offer savings in cost and construction time, and they can be deployed incrementally to match increasing energy demand.
In order to fight climate change, the use of electricity will have to increase significantly in the coming decades and strong actions are needed to achieve the climate targets set by the Swedish Government. To meet the new demand, a major expansion of fossil-free power sources is needed. Fortum and Kärnfull Next believe that the potential for SMRs is great and there is clear interest from industry.
“SMRs can provide both industry and municipalities with predictable and fossil-free electricity, heat and hydrogen,” said Laurent Leveugle, head of Fortum’s newbuild feasibility study. “Together with new wind power, new nuclear will be a crucial piece of the climate transition puzzle. Kärnfull Next already has a noteworthy project portfolio and we see that our different competences in the value chain complement each other in an excellent way.”
“Fortum has a unique and broad nuclear expertise and it operates its reactors with world-leading availability. For Kärnfull Next, the cooperation with Fortum will mean that we can offer our customers an even better comprehensive solution at a competitive price,” said Christian Sjölander, CEO of Kärnfull Next.