Through research and development, ANItA's mission is to generate knowledge-based decision support for the efficient implementation of new nuclear power technologies in Sweden.

The current Swedish nuclear power program was developed in the 60s and fully implemented in the 70s and 80s. There were several reasons for the development of this program, but one important reason was to reduce Sweden's heavy dependence on fossil fuel imports in order to strengthen national security. Another was to reduce the emission of acidifying substances into the atmosphere. The third reason was the recognition that the last remaining rivers in the north needed to be used to provide energy support for an ever-expanding industrial sector without using them for hydroelectric power generation. Perhaps one of the reasons behind it was to demonstrate to the outside world that Sweden could develop, build and build high-tech nuclear reactors and add value to export industries.

To enable this development in a relatively sparsely populated country, close cooperation between the state, industry and academia was identified as a determining factor. As a result, nine of the 12 nuclear reactors operated in Sweden were of the Swedish ASEA design, effectively making them exclusively manufactured in the Swedish supply chain.

In recent years, the need for new nuclear power generation to meet national environmental and climate goals has become increasingly apparent. It seemed like a good idea to replicate at least some of the strategies used in the 1960s, to reunite the state, industry, and academia and align resources toward a common goal. This is where ANItA comes into play.

The Industry-Academia Nuclear Technology Initiative to Achieve a Sustainable Energy Future (ANItA) was conceptualized in 2021 and became operational in 2022. ANItA now has Uppsala University (host), the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Mr. Chalmers as academic partners. Industrial partners are Vattenfall, Uniper, Fortum, Westinghouse and Studsvik Nuclear. The country is represented by the Swedish Energy Agency, with Swedish and Finnish regulators and women in the nuclear sector participating as observers.

Through research and development, ANItAs' mission is to generate knowledge-based decision support that facilitates the efficient and timely introduction of new nuclear technologies in Sweden, in particular light water small modular reactors (SMRs). Part of this mission includes securing and developing a critical supply of expertise in the field of nuclear technology. The cooperation also aims to foster a rational debate in society about the role of nuclear power in addressing environmental and climate issues, while maintaining high welfare ambitions. From 2022 to 2026, ANItA will be funded one third each by industry, academia and the Swedish Energy Agency, bringing the total budget for the first five years to approximately €8 million.

To address the different aspects of the mission, a collaborative research portfolio has been developed that meets the interests of both industry and academia and is consistent with the analysis performed on the implementation requirements of new reactor technologies. The resulting research portfolio currently consists of 14 projects comprising research and development work on technical and non-technical themes. The project will be staffed by PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, with oversight and senior participation from both academia and industry. In this context, ANItA is important to point out that he was not involved in the design or construction of the SMR. Instead, relying on relevant information from current reactor suppliers, he contacts ANItA and establishes a realistic scenario for R&D work.

project portfolio

The ANItAs project portfolio is divided into five research areas according to:

  • A. SMR technology and applications
  • B. SMR-specific core, fuel, and operation
  • C. SMR-specific reactor safety and safety systems
  • D. Fuel cycle
  • E. Introduction of new nuclear technology in Sweden

The research area AD covers a wide range of technical subjects related to light water SMR applications. Briefly, the project addresses the following issues:

  • Optimized chemistry for light water reactor SMR
  • Structural material issues
  • Optimization of SMR fuel assembly and core design
  • New reactor monitoring technology
  • A new approach to nuclear safeguards
  • Experimental methods to accelerate fuel development
  • Recycling of spent nuclear fuel
  • Applications other than power generation
  • Research on the role of SMR in hybrid energy systems
  • Design-based and beyond-design scenarios, passive safety systems

While Research Area AD covers typical technical themes in nuclear engineering, Research Area E covers non-technical themes that directly impact SMR implementation and is therefore worth a brief review here. there is. Research Area E he is divided into two projects, each dealing with the prerequisites for introducing his SMR in Sweden.

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Impact of SMR implementation and continuous production on plant project management

This project includes a study on risk mitigation in SMR projects, including risks associated with construction schedules and budgets, which are highlighted here. The business case for SMR relies heavily on serial manufacturing, where systems, components, and structures are prefabricated as much as possible in factories and then installed on-site. In other words, we're moving from a mindset of “built on-site” to a mindset of “installed on-site.” . ” Such a migration saves money and helps ensure projects are delivered on schedule and on budget.

However, new types of projects and financing models are needed, including the roles and responsibilities of project parties. The advantages of serial production have also been proven in other industrial sectors, such as the shipping and aviation industries, and the collected experience should be transferred to the nuclear industry. How to do this efficiently and in a timely manner is one of the questions to be solved within this research project.

Regulatory aspects and licensing

To exploit the full potential of SMR for local power and heat generation close to end users, you should consider locating the plant in non-traditional locations. Currently, virtually all infrastructure projects in Sweden are hampered by lengthy environmental assessment processes, which primarily apply to new nuclear power generation. Therefore, legal reform is paramount to the successful implementation of SMR. The identification of required changes and how they relate to Swedish and EU law is investigated and suggestions for changes to the law are provided.

You must also license SMR before deployment. Until now, licensing in Sweden has been for individual power reactors, with separate licensing procedures for each unit. If a large number of identical units are to be installed at multiple sites, the licensing process should be reorganized into general phases, with the first phase obtaining type approval, followed by a second phase specific to site-specific issues. is reasonable. However, this poses a challenge to the permitting process currently used in Sweden, so this project aims to find a viable way to address this issue.

The types of challenges outlined above are not unique to Sweden. By addressing current and future requirements and safety standards, the activities of this research project will contribute to reducing risks and licensing difficulties that may arise during the early stages of SMR implementation in Sweden and potentially other countries. It is intended to.

Running all ANItA projects requires a lot of effort. In fact, it is larger than stakeholders can typically manage, and projects require a wide range of capabilities that stakeholders alone cannot deliver. ANItA's main value lies in the collection and coordination of Swedish nuclear research, where a wide range of research and engineering expertise is brought together under his one umbrella and can work consistently.

The research project will begin in the fall of 2023, with initial results expected to be published in various peer-reviewed journals from the summer onwards. Additionally, project results and reports will be published on the ANItA website as soon as they become available.

Additional research on nuclear technology

Politics and public opinion are currently in favor of introducing new nuclear power in Sweden. However, after decades of debate over the supposed dangers, high costs, etc. of nuclear power generation, questions remain about new uses and potential locations for SMRs in people's neighborhoods. The social aspects of SMR implementation is one of the highly relevant research areas that ANItA has not yet covered. Work is underway to incorporate social science researchers into ANItA, with the aim of creating additional research areas in the portfolio.

For completeness, it is worth mentioning that apart from ANItA there are two other research centers covering nuclear technology in Sweden. The Nuclear Technology Center (SKC) hosted by KTH deals primarily with research related to Sweden's current fleet of nuclear reactors. The scope of the Swedish Academic Initiative for Nuclear Technology Research (SAINT) at Chalmers is broader and consists primarily of research within radiology. Finally, although it is not an official center, it contributes to Sweden's nuclear development capabilities.
KTH's Sunrise project is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency.


ANItA's research project has been in full swing since the summer of 2023, and the first results are about to be published in scientific journals and conferences. In addition to research and development activities, ANItA has also participated in various public meetings, symposiums and mass media platforms to inform the society about issues related to nuclear technology in general and his SMR in particular. There is growing interest from new stakeholders to join ANItA. ANItA is now recognized at the highest political level in Sweden, so we can say that the ANItA concept is successful in relation to its mission.

This article will also be published in the quarterly magazine issue 18.

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