A stable platform for electricity generation
Ever since Vattenfall’s first two reactors, Ringhals 1 and 2, went into operation in the mid-1970s, nuclear power has been a key component in Vattenfall’s energy mix.
Vattenfall operates seven nuclear power reactors in Sweden: four at Ringhals and three at Forsmark; as well as two in Germany: one at Brunsbüttel and one at Krümmel. Vattenfall also owns a minority share of the Brokdorf nuclear plant in Germany. The German government has taken the decision to phase out the use of nuclear power. Vattenfall’s nuclear assets in Germany will be wound down in accordance with this decision.
Nuclear power currently accounts for 25% of Vattenfall’s total electricity generation. Nuclear power accounts for roughly a quarter of the EU’s electricity generation, which is a slightly lower proportion than in 1990, when the figure was around 30%.
In a nuclear power plant, electricity is generated by using the energy released by splitting an atomic nucleus in a process known as nuclear fission. Fission generates heat, which is used to heat water to produce steam to drive a turbine, which in turn drives a generator to produce electricity.
Nuclear power is a large-scale and stable way of generating base power in the energy system. It provides a stable platform for electricity supply. With nuclear power, generation costs are competitive, the supply of fuel is stable, and electricity generation is relatively insensitive to variations in fuel prices. Instead, major capital investment is a dominant cost item during the operating life of a nuclear power plant.
Nuclear power has very low carbon dioxide emissions, but radioactive waste is produced throughout the process, from mining the uranium ore to demolition of the reactors. Spent nuclear fuel, which is highly radioactive and accounts for 95% of the radiation, must be isolated for at least a hundred thousand years, in some cases even longer.
Safety factors have always been an important part of nuclear power development, and today’s safety systems are the result of long and intensive research. Tougher and more durable materials have been developed to encapsulate reactors, while improved materials are continuously evolving to control the fission process.
Visit our power plants - Nuclear power (new window)