OKG, owner and operator of the three-unit Oskarshamn nuclear power plant on Sweden’s east coast, announced on Oct. 14 that it would permanently shut down Units 1 and 2 at the facility, while continuing to operate the larger and newer Unit 3.

OKG’s majority owner E.ON is driving the decision. The German-based company has been struggling with difficult global energy markets. Last December, it announced that it would embark on a new corporate strategy focused on renewables, distribution networks, and customer solutions, while combining its power generation, global energy trading, and exploration and production businesses into a new, independent company.

The 473-MW Oskarshamn 1—Sweden’s first commercial nuclear power unit—was commissioned in 1972, while the 638-MW Unit 2 began operation in 1974. Unit 3 (1,400 MW) entered commercial operation in 1985.

OKG said the decision to close the Oskarshamn units was made “in the light of the continuously low electricity rates together with the nuclear capacity tax on nuclear power which has been recently raised as well, and additional requirements on extensive investments.”

Oskarshamn Unit 2 has been out of service since June 2013, undergoing a modernization project. The project will now be discontinued, there will be no future investments at Unit 2, and the reactor will not be restarted. The exact date that Unit 1 will be permanently shut down has not been established. It will continue to operate until the time schedule for the decommissioning phase has been prepared and the required regulatory permits have been received.

“This is naturally a tremendously sad decision for me as well as for our employees. Any immediate dismissal notices due to the decision on the shutdown are not considered necessary in the short term, but planning has been initiated regarding adjusting the organisation based on the conditions that we now have to adapt to. Such a process will obviously be handled in a responsible manner with focus on the safety,” said Johan Svenningsson, managing director of OKG.

Aaron Larson, associate editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)