A part of the sealing at Forsmark 1 when examined showed possible degradation and a statement from Vattenfall said that for seven months Forsmark Kraftgrupp AB had operated reactor 1 with a rubber packing inside the reactor containment which had not been investigated in accordance with the internal routines. A test rubber sample was taken during routine revision last June. When the test result had been analysed, it was clear that the elasticity of the rubber packing was insufficient.

Operators Forsmark Kraftgrupp classed the deteriorated function of the rubber packing in the reactor containment at Forsmark 1 as a category 1 incident and preliminarily as level 1 on the international INES scale, which signifies a deviation from normal operation. The rubber packing in Unit 1 will be changed while test results from Forsmark 2 showed that the rubber packing in the reactor containment is fully operable.

In related news the plant manager at Forsmark, Lars Fagerberg, resigned as a consequence of recent events, having decided that he no longer has the full confidence of the board. Fagerberg has been replaced by Jan Edberg as managing director of Forsmark a position he already held 1997 – 2000. In 2001 he became managing director of Ringhals and Barsebäck stations.

Vattenfall has also recently reported its full year results from 2006, showing strong earnings for the full year, but a weak fourth quarter following forced outages at Forsmark.

In the company’s Nordic operations, operating profit fell by 3.6%, mainly due to higher power generation taxes and a sharp reduction in nuclear and hydro power generation. Electricity generation decreased by 2.7% in 2006, to 164.5 TWh, compared with 169.1 TWh in 2005 with nuclear power generation decreasing by 6.3%, to 55.2 TWh compared with 205’s 58.9 TWh, mainly due to an incident at the Forsmark nuclear power plant in July 2006. Hydro power generation also decreased by 13.8%, to 34.3 TWh due to low water supplies.

Vattenfall showed improved underlying profit for the year with strong cash flow and lower debt, but substantial provisions and write-downs pushed profit for the year after tax down by 3.2%, to SEK 19,858 million ($2.87 billion) while operating profit for the fourth quarter decreased by 30% to SEK 5,258 million ($762 million).

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