Many municipalities in the country already suffer from large energy deficits. The problem is expected to worsen in the coming years.
In the north of the country, the energy situation has been much discussed. Among other things, Statnett expressed concern that Northern Nordland will face particular challenges with energy shortages and high energy prices within a few years.
But the municipality of Uri in the North Sea also lacks power. Now, in cooperation with the municipality of Heim, they have set aside a plot of land for what they hope will become a nuclear power plant in the future.
But whether they will be allowed to build at all, they know nothing about.
There may be a lack of energy
In November 2022, Statnet estimated a significant increase in energy consumption in Norway in the coming years.
This could lead to a national energy deficit within a few years – as early as 2027.
People have tried, among other things, to suggest windmills as a solution, but in many places this has met with strong resistance.
One possible solution, which many believe is controversial, is nuclear energy.
Therefore, the municipality of Or and Heim has now allocated a plot of land for the facility it hopes to establish. They cooperate with the private company Norsk Kjernekraft AS.
– This is the first stage to start the investigation program. Choosing the land can be a completely different matter, but we have to start the process, says Or Han Mayor Berit Brecken (AP).
The mayor explains that she believes nuclear energy could be part of Norway’s energy mix in the future, and that they now want to pave the way to see if the governing authorities can join them in such an idea.
– We don’t have nuclear energy today, and we don’t have a policy that invests heavily in this as an energy source, but this is exactly what we want to challenge, she says.
Ore and Heim have now also joined four other municipalities and signed an agreement of intent to create the interest organization “Norske Kjernekraftkommuner”. The other four municipalities are Vardo, Narvik, Porsgrunn and Halden. The organization will not be established except with the approval of the relevant municipal councils.
I don’t think anything will happen before 2040
Localization is a very important point in the operation of a nuclear power plant, says Ole Kristin Rystad.
He was previously head of Norway’s last nuclear reactor, and is now head of the Department of Environmental Safety and Radiation Protection at the Department of Energy Engineering.
He explains that it is difficult to know whether the site exists now.
– Many people can start, but you don’t really know what the requirements are for it now.
– Do you think that the municipalities will achieve their desire to establish a nuclear power plant?
– There is a lot that needs to happen and put into place before this can be achieved. To us, it doesn’t look like anything will be achieved before 2040, almost anyway, he says.
The plot will be the first of many steps in the process, says Johnny Heisthammer, who is the day-to-day manager of Norsk Kjernekraft AS. The next step is to send notification about the expansion program to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.
– He says it’s something they have to deal with and decide.
– How can you choose a plot of land if you do not know the instructions?
– One could wait until there is a political debate about nuclear energy in Norway, but then we would waste several years. He answers: By starting the process now, we are forcing a reaction.
Ore’s mayor, Han Beret Brecken, has not taken the position that nuclear power is the only good solution for the municipality, but says something must be done to get more energy.
– Anyway, I don’t want to be the politician that people have been talking about for ten years because I didn’t do anything. My goal is to make an effort to ensure that we have the energy we need in the future,” she says.
It has no connection to Norway
Municipalities are free to allocate an area, but the government believes current nuclear technology is not a good alternative for Norway, says State Secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Elisabeth Sather.
“It’s expensive, it has big problems with radioactive waste, and we don’t have the experience to operate nuclear power in Norway,” she says.
– Could it be related in the future?
– We will not close the door to the fact that in 2050 there will be a breakthrough in nuclear energy technology, so I do not want to be assertive about where we will be then.
She adds that she agrees that Norway needs more energy, but is currently focusing on renewable energy sources such as wind, hydropower and offshore wind.
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