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Forsmark incident rated as a Level 2: taken seriously, but “without consequences to people or to the surrounding environment”

The incident at the Forsmark nuclear power plant (NPP) in Sweden on 25 July, which led to the precautionary and temporary shutting down of three other nuclear plants in Sweden pending a thorough investigation from the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate (SKI) has, understandably, generated considerable interest in Europe. The incident was caused by an external electrical fault that triggered a short circuit of the switchgear. Two of the four back-up diesel generators did not start up as expected. However, the safety systems required to keep the incident under control – i.e. the automatic shut-down and cooling of the reactor - functioned systematically.

What occurred at Forsmark was categorised as a Level 2 or “Incident” on the IAEA’s International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). Events are classified according to seven levels: the upper levels (4-7) are termed “accidents” and the lower levels (1-3) are called “incidents.” The event that occurred at Forsmark was rated as an incident without consequences to people or to the surrounding environment.

For further information on the incident, read the following press releases:

- SKI: No more reactors need to be shut down

- Vattenfall: Tests to determine the cause for the stoppage of Forsmark

- Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire: NOTE D'INFORMATION Incident sur l’alimentation électrique du réacteur nucléaire suédois Forsmark 1

- Deutsches Atomforum: Betriebsstörung im schwedischen Kernkraftwerk Forsmark nach erster Analyse nicht auf deutsche Anlagen übertragbar


The Swedish nuclear industry takes its responsibilities very seriously. The necessary emergency operating procedures were followed in order to identify the cause of the problem, to contain it, to reassure plant personnel, to immediately inform the competent authorities and communities living in the vicinity of the plant that their safety was in no way compromised and to communicate all relevant information to the public as soon as it is available. Tests were carried out throughout the following days to reproduce the sequence of events that caused the incident and to identify design alterations that should ensure that the incident does not recur. A detailed report will be sent to SKI by the operators of Forsmark, Vattenfall AB. The NPP’s operators are awaiting the all-clear to restart the reactor at Forsmark 1, once the necessary modifications have been made.

The alarmist reactions to the incident from certain quarters, which have been passed on to the press, are not only inaccurate and totally disproportionate to reality, but also calculated to create a distorted view of the overall safety profile and operational competence of the nuclear industry – both in Sweden and  in general. They also undermine the effectiveness of independent national control authorities and of expert international bodies that work together to ensure that safety is paramount at all times.

The nuclear renaissance that is gathering momentum across Europe – and globally – reflects the growing belief of governments and public opinion that investing in nuclear, energy - as part of an energy mix that includes non CO2 emitting technologies and renewables - is the safest and best option for meeting the challenges of ensuring security of supply, combating climate change and providing affordable energy. Safety is and will remain the top priority for the future development of the nuclear industry.

Last Updated ( Monday, 28 August 2006 )
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