A Finnish District Heating Reactor: Background and General Overview

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In 2019 the government of Finland made a decision to phase out of coal in energy production in a period of just ten years. The Finnish energy sector is currently looking for alternative technologies to replace coal-fired power plants, used especially in large cities for producing electricity and low-temperature heat for the local district heating network. The production of low-carbon electricity is expected to grow within the near future, along with the commissioning of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant and increasing share of wind power. The lost district heating capacity, however, is more difficult to replace. To anticipate the transition, municipal energy companies have turned their attention to clean alternatives, including nuclear energy.

In an effort to meet the government climate goals, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has launched a project to design a small, simplified and passively safe PWR for district heating applications. The heating plant consists of one or multiple 50 MW reactor modules, operating on natural circulation at around 120°C temperature. The design combines conventional LWR technology with an innovative containment function, capable of decay heat removal without any mechanical moving parts. The reactors can be constructed partially or fully underground, or retro-fitted into an existing boiler plant. This paper presents an overview of the pre-conceptual reactor design, together with some general background on district heating reactor technology. More detailed design and safety analyses are provided in two separate papers at this ICONE-28 conference.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2021 28th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationOperating Plant Challenges, Successes, and Lessons Learned; Nuclear Plant Engineering; Advanced Reactors and Fusion; Small Modular and Micro-Reactors Technologies and Applications
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-7918-8524-6
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Event28th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering: Online - Virtual
Duration: 4 Aug 20216 Aug 2021

Publication series

SeriesInternational Conference on Nuclear Engineering (ICONE)


Conference28th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering


  • Nuclear power
  • Wind power
  • Carbon
  • Climate
  • Energy generation
  • Central heating


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