Swedish nuclear plant under observation after incidents

9th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

The plant is owned by the Swedish state-owned group Vattenfall and by German energy giant E.ON.

Stockholm -- Sweden's nuclear safety authority has put the country's biggest nuclear power plant under observation after a series of incidents that could endanger security, it said on Wednesday.

The Ringhals plant in southwestern Sweden has four reactors and produces about 20 percent of all electricity used in Sweden.

"The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has observed a series of shortcomings since 2005. These involve weaknesses in management and governance, a lack of traceability of internal decisions, and failure to adhere to routines and instructions," it said in a statement.

"But despite measures introduced by Ringhals the problems persist," it added.

SSM ordered Ringhals to investigate why its routines were not respected and submit a report, and demanded that new security measures be put in place.

The Ringhals plant is owned 70 percent by Swedish state-owned group Vattenfall and 30 percent by German energy giant E.ON.

Another nuclear plant owned by Vattenfall, the Kruemmel station near Hamburg, Germany, underwent an "emergency shutdown" at the weekend following a short circuit in one of the plant's transformers.

That incident occurred only one week after the Kruemmel plant reopened after two years of repairs. It will now remain offline until April or May 2010.

Sweden, which has 10 reactors at three power stations, announced earlier this year that it had reversed a decision to phase out nuclear power, saying the reactors could be replaced at the end of their life spans as part of an ambitious new climate programme.

Swedish news agency TT said Wednesday's decision by SSM was only the third time such measures had been ordered against a nuclear plant in the Scandinavian country.


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