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NUCLEAR

Fire hits Swedish nuke plant near Gothenburg

A small fire broke out at the Ringhals nuclear power plant in western Sweden on Wednesday morning, less than a day after the reactor had been restarted.

Fire hits Swedish nuke plant near Gothenburg

The blaze started shortly after 9am at Ringhals’ Reactor 1 and was extinguished less than an hour later.

“The smoke came from oil inside the insulation on one or several of the pipes in the turbine hall,” emergency services spokesman Roger Banck told the TT news agency.

However, the reactor continues to operate at half capacity and it remains unclear how long it will continue to do so.

“Now we have to disassemble certain parts in order to access where the fire took place and see what the damage is and we don’t know how long that will take,” Ringshals spokesman Gösta Larsen told TT.

Ringhals’ Reactor 1 was restarted on Tuesday after having been shut down the day before due to a broken meter.

The reactor had been closed for inspection for the previous five weeks and it was undergoing a test run when the meter malfunction was discovered.

Reactor 4, which also remains shuttered for a safety review, is supposed to be restarted on Sunday.

On Tuesday, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten, SSM) announced Ringhals would no longer be held under special observation, a status implemented for Ringhals by the agency back in 2009 following a series of safety lapses.

TT/The Local/dl

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NUCLEAR

Russia’s ‘nuclear titanic’ sets off for Swedish coast

A Russian power plant dubbed a “nuclear Titanic” by environmental campaigners set off on Saturday on its way to Sweden’s Baltic coast.

Russia's 'nuclear titanic' sets off for Swedish coast
The Akademik Lomonosov nuclear power station sets off from St Petersburg on Saturday. Photo: Dmitri Lovetsky/TT/AP
Akademik Lomonosov, the world’s first floating nuclear power plant, left the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg on Saturday morning.
 
It is expected to reach the Swedish coast next week, before making its way through the narrow Öresund straits, across the Kattegat and into the North Sea. 
 
“We are following this closely through our cooperation with other countries and through our own national agencies,” Johan Friberg, Director of the Swedish Radiation Safety Agency told Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT
 
Russia’s development of a floating nuclear power plant has generated alarm among its Nordic neighbours, with Norway’s foreign minister Børge Brende last June warning that the plan to transport it fully fuelled raised “serious questions”. 
 
Karolina Skog, Sweden’s environment minister, argued last June that floating nuclear power stations created “a new type of risk”. 
 
“It is important that Russia makes every effort to fulfil the criteria of international agreements, which should be seen as applying to floating nuclear power stations as well,” she said.  
 
After a meeting in Moscow that July, Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom relented on its plans to drag the reactor through the Baltic fuelled, saying that the plant would instead be fuelled in Murmansk after it had arrived in the Russian Arctic. 
 
“We will carry out the transportation through the Baltic and the Scandinavian region without nuclear fuel on board,” Alexey Likhachev told the Independent Barents Observer.  
 
Jan Haverkamp, nuclear expert for Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe, has attacked the plant as a ‘nuclear Titanic’, and “threat to the Arctic” 
 
“Nuclear reactors bobbing around the Arctic Ocean will pose a shockingly obvious threat to a fragile environment which is already under enormous pressure from climate change,” he said in a press release
 
After the plant is fuelled and tested, it will be pulled across to Pevek on the Eastern Siberian Sea, where it will be used to power oil rigs. 
 
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