(Bloomberg) -- Sweden may turn to a new breed of small nuclear reactors to help meet soaring demand for electricity over the next decade. 

State-owned utility Vattenfall AB said Tuesday it will start an 18-month study on whether it’s plausible to have at least two so-called small modular reactors adjacent to the Ringhals plant on the nation’s west coast. The Swedish government last week said the country is facing a power crisis and that all technologies should be considered when boosting supplies. 

If Vattenfall builds the new plants, it would underline a huge shift in the energy policy of a nation where atomic power was for many years seen as a thing of the past. But Europe’s energy crisis is upending policy and energy economics, and countries from France to the UK are also looking at the technology. 

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Sweden needs all the new power it can get as the electrification of society and the construction of energy intensive factories making everything from batteries to green steel in the north will need a lot of new capacity. 

Ringhals is considered a viable location because the company is allowed to replace two decomissioned units there, under current legislation. 

The first of the small reactors could start operating in the early 2030s if the pilot study finds it to be profitable and there are suitable investment conditions, particularly new regulations for nuclear, Vattenfall Chief Executive Officer Anna Borg said in a statement.

The company has in the past decade decommissioned several old reactors as they often became unprofitable to run. Big investments to meet safety requirements from regulators were also needed. Ringhals currently has two reactors in operation, both from the early 1980s, which are expected to provide power for two more decades. 

The capacity of an SMR is about 300 megawatts, or a quarter of a new large unit, according to Vattenfall’s website. The firm already has access to some expertise -- it bought a minority stake in Estonian start-up Fermi Energia,  which is also seeking to deploy small modular reactors in the country at the start of the next decade.

(Updates with details on Ringhals site in fifth paragraph.)

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