Biological recipient monitoring at the Forsmark nuclear power plant – fish, bottom macro fauna, birds and temperature

Last changed: 02 November 2016

Potential ecosystem effects caused by the effluent cooling water from the Forsmark nuclear power plant are monitored in yearly surveys by Institute of Coastal Research, Department of Aquatic Recourses. The emphasis is on studies of fish populations, but we also monitor soft and hard bottom fauna, bird inventory and temperature.

The first reactor at Forsmark nuclear power plant was commissioned in 1980. Two more reactors began operating in 1981 and 1985. The power plant uses almost 140 000 liters of water per second for cooling the condensers. The water is taken from an adjacent bay. The heated cooling water from two of the nuclear reactors goes into an embanked area in the Forsmark archipelago; the Biotest basin. The cooling water from the third reactor is released in a canal outside the Biotest basin.

These are the parts of the biological recipient monitoring program:

Biotest basin

  • Gillnet surveys
  • Fyke net surveys
  • Age and growth analysis of perch
  • Gonadal and condition status of perch and roach
  • Sampling of fish fry with underwater detonations
  • Temperature observations

The power plant, Öregrundsrgepen and the reference area Finbofjärden in the north-western Åland

  • Control of fish losses in the cooling water intake
  • Gillnet surveys
  • Age and growth analysis of perch and roach
  • Sampling of fish fry with underwater detonations
  • Temperature observations
  • Soft bottom macro fauna
  • Hard bottom macro fauna
  • Bird inventories (reference area Kallrigafjärden)

Besides the monitoring program enjoined by the authorities, there has been an extensive research in the Biotest basin regarding the effects of warm water in flora and fauna.

Staff from Institute of Coastal Research at SLU Aqua also collects biological material from both land and sea for a radio ecology monitoring program under the responsibility of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM).

The results from the biological recipient monitoring are reported annually. Every five years the results are reported in a more extensive and profound way.


Adill, A., Heimbrand, Y., Sevastik, S. (2014). Recipient monitoring Forsmark - Yearly report for 2013. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Öregrund. 42 s. Aqua reports 2014:5.Femårsrapport Forsmark

Adill, A., Mo, K., Sevastik, S., Olsson, J., Bergström, L. (2013). Recipient monitoring at Forsmark nuclear power plant - Summary results of surveys by the year 2012.  Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Öregrund. 69 s. Aqua reports 2013:19.Femårsrapport Forsmark


Anders Adill, Environmental Assessment Analyst
Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Coastal Research, SLU, +46 10 478 41 10