Norway's last nuclear research reactor to close permanently

OSLO, April 25 (Reuters) - Norway’s last nuclear research reactor will shut permanently and be decommissioned after more than 50 years of operations, the country’s Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) said on Thursday.

The JEEP II research reactor at Kjeller near Oslo has been shut for scheduled maintenance since last December and corrosion was found on several important safety components during an inspection.

The institute said it would be too costly to repair the reactor.

“The board of directors has decided, based on an overall assessment, that the reactor will not be restarted. IFE will consequently initiate work to prepare the decommissioning of the reactor,” the institute said in a statement.

Nuclear fuel and heavy water have been already removed, meaning that the reactor poses no danger to the environment, it added.

The rector, some 20 kilometres away from Oslo, has been used by researchers in physics, materials, cancer medicine, renewable energy and nuclear disarmament since starting operations in 1967, the IFE said.

In June 2018, Norway’s research reactor in Halden was shut down after 60 years of operation.

“Both Norwegian nuclear reactors are now closed and Norway will enter into a new era with decommissioning of the national nuclear programme which was started in 1948,” the IFE said.

Norway has no commercial nuclear reactors, and generates more than 90 percent of its electricity at hydropower plants. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis. Editing by Jane Merriman)