* Vattenfall may put it in 5 reactors, seek exemptions for 2
* OKG still analysing, to present assessment on May 5
By Nerijus Adomaitis
OSLO, April 2 Sweden's nuclear reactors must be
equipped with independent core cooling systems by around 2020,
taking into account lessons from the 2011 Fukushima disaster,
the regulator said on Wednesday.
Installing the new systems will require additional
investment by power plant operators and may mean longer
maintenance times, which could drive up Nordic power prices.
"Swedish nuclear power plants will have to install an
independent core cooling system if they want to operate longer.
There is no final decision yet on its design or the time frame,
but we are thinking about 2020 now," Tomas Jelinek, an official
at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM), told Reuters.
"If power plant operators consider this to be too costly,
they might (be able to) run reactors for some time but will have
to shut down eventually," he added.
Independent core cooling is activated to direct water into
the reactor core if other cooling systems fail to function,
which can occur for reasons such as a loss of the external power
"This area has once again been brought to the fore following
the severe nuclear power accident in Japan," Jan Hanberg, head
of a section at SSM, said in a statement.
The cores of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant
melted after a tsunami disabled the power supply and their
Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall said it was
still assessing the impact of the regulator's proposal on power
production and the need for investment.
"The preliminary assessment it that most of the system can
be installed during a reactor's normal operation, and it will
not require any additional time beyond the maintenance that has
been already planned," Magnus Kryssare, a Vattenfall spokesman,
Vattenfall operates seven nuclear reactors at the Forsmark
and Ringhals power plants. Two of its oldest reactors -
Ringhals-1 and Ringhals-2 - are already expected to be shut in
the next decade.
"We are focusing on installing the system at five reactors.
We might ask for an exemption for Ringhals-1 and Ringhals-2,"
OKG, operator of the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant with
three reactors, said it was still analysing the regulator's
proposal and planned to present its assessment by May 5.
The plant, which includes Sweden's two oldest reactors, is
owned by Germany's E.ON and Finland's Fortum
(editing by Jane Baird)