Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 goes online after 12-year construction delay

The three reactors of Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Eurajoki, Finland (Hannu Huovila/TVO/CC BY-SA 3.0)
The Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor went online in Finland on Saturday, 12 years after its deadline, and around €8bn over its original €3bn budget.

Finnish nuclear operator Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said the reactor has begun supplying some power to the country’s grid, although it will not reach full capacity until July, reports Deutsche Welle.

The work was carried out by French engineer Areva and Germany’s Siemens. Construction began in 2005 and was to be completed four years later.

The 1.6GW unit was to have been the first example of an advanced pressurised water design, produced by Areva subsidiary Framatome as its flagship generation III-plus reactor. However, a combination of issues resulted in a string of delays.

In 2018, Areva and Siemens agreed to pay €450m to TVO in compensation.

A similar plant at Flamanville in France also encountered a decade-long delay, although a third project, to install two reactors at Taishan in Guangdong, southeast China, was more successful. These entered service in 2018 and 2019 (see further reading).

The design of the EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) was later reworked to make it easier to build, and this “new model EPR” is presently being installed at Hinkley Point and Sizewell C in the UK.

Olkiluoto 3 is being added to a nuclear power station on the Gulf of Bothnia, alongside two boiling water reactors designed by Swiss engineer ABB that entered service in 1979 and 1982. Once the new reactor reaches full output, it will supply around 14% of Finland’s total demand.

The unit is the first new utility-scale reactor to be commissioned in Finland since Olkiluoto 2, and the first to be completed in Western Europe in over 10 years.

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