Restart of damaged Swedish nuclear reactor delayed further

STOCKHOLM, March 24 (Xinhua) -- A damaged nuclear reactor in Sweden that was due to be restarted on Sunday has been hit by yet more delays, Swedish Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reported on Friday.

Ringhals 4 was originally scheduled to be reconnected to the energy system last November, following repairs of a pressure vessel that was damaged in August. The restart date was first pushed back to January 2023, then to Feb. 24, March 19, March 26, and most recently to April 1, DN reported.

When the restart began and pressure and temperature increased in the plant, a leak occurred in a valve, which although is "very small", must be repaired before restarting the plant, the report said.

"Safety and stability always come first. We will not restart Ringhals 4 with known defects, not even a small one like this," said Anna Collin, press manager at Ringhals.

"We will start producing electricity in the near future, but right now we need a few more days," Collin said.

The operator of the Ringhals facility said earlier that acquiring the tools necessary for the repairs had taken longer than expected.

Due to the combined effects of the delay and the recent cold weather, electricity prices, which climbed to record highs over the past one year, could remain volatile.

Nuclear power accounts for approximately 30 percent of the electricity produced in Sweden, according to the Swedish Radiation Safety Agency.

Following the decommissioning of four reactors between 2017 and 2020, six reactors currently operate at three sites.

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