Ringhals consists of four reactors, two of which are in operation. It is one of few nuclear power plants to have both boiling water and pressurised water reactors.
The first reactor (R1) is a boiling water reactor, built by Asea-Atom. It was in commercial operation between January 1976 and December 2020.
The three remaining reactors (R2, R3 and R4) are pressurised water reactors manufactured by Westinghouse. R2 was in operation between May 1975 and December 2019. R3 has an installed electrical capacity of 1,074 MW and began commercial operation in September 1981 and R4 – with an installed electrical capacity of 1,130 MW – went commercial in November 1983.
The history of Ringhals dates back to 1965, when Vattenfall began buying land in the Värö peninsula area. Requests for tender regarding a boiling water reactor and a pressurised water reactor were issued in the following years. In 1968, the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant were approved by His Majesty the King, and one reactor of each kind was purchased from Asea-Atom and Westinghouse, the selected suppliers. In 1970 construction began at Ringhals and in 1972 the site was one of the largest workplaces in Europe, employing about 3,200 people. Commercial operation of Ringhals started with the second reactor in 1975 and in the following years the other reactors were connected to the grid.
In 1998 Ringhals reached a milestone, having generated 400 TWh of electricity, which at the time amounted to 10% of all electricity consumed in Sweden since the introduction of the light bulb at the beginning of the century. In 2018 Ringhals reached an all-time-high in electricity generation, supplying 30 TWh of electricity to Sweden.
The operation of the nuclear power plant is a major project in itself. However, extensive research and development work also takes place at Ringhals, as many of the plant's technicians and engineers are experts in their respective fields.
In 2015, the board of Ringhals decided to close Ringhals 2 in December 2019 and Ringhals 1 in December 2020.
Investing for the future
Investments and upgrades are made continuously to increase the lifespan of Ringhals units 3 and 4. Both reactors have reached approximately half their lifetime, and the modernisation work will ensure their capability to produce fossil-free electricity from 40 to at least 60 years. This means that Ringhals employees work with proven technology as well as new technology and systems, which require them to be both safety aware and innovative in their approach.
Ringhals regularly recruits new colleagues to various parts of the business. Personal development is an important investment in the company's future and major efforts are made to give employees the opportunity to develop and thrive in the workplace. The company culture is characterised by skills, knowledge and people who want to share their expertise.
A significant amount of research and development takes place at Ringhals and its specialists are among the best in the world in their field.
New reactors at Ringhals?
Vattenfall sees a need for increased electricity production in the south of Sweden. A feasibility study has started that will evaluate the commercial, legal and technical conditions for building at least two small modular reactors on the Värö peninsula. The results of the study will be presented in the autumn of 2023.
The Ringhals area is designated by the Swedish Energy Agency as of national interest for energy production and infrastructure already exists if production is expanded.