Construction of the world's first EPR, Finland's Olkiluoto 3, has reached a major milestone with the installation of the reactor building dome.
The 200 tonne, 47 metre diameter steel dome was hoisted into position 44 metres above the ground by two of the world's most powerful cranes. The dome will be welded around its circumference and covered with 7000 tonnes of concrete.
The installation of the dome is the culmination of several months of preparatory work which included the installation of the polar crane inside the building for use in annual outages, and the installation of the eight metres wide equipment hatch in the inside wall, through which large components such as steam generators will be able to pass.
Areva's Jean-Pierre Mouroux, general manager of the project, explained that the lowering of the dome marked the end of the civil works phase and the start of the erection phase. "All that remains is to install the pipes and commission the plant", he said.
The 1600 MWe reactor, being built for Teollisuuden Voima Oyj by Areva, is currently expected to start up in 2012, some three years later than originally planned. Areva has allowed for a €2.3 billion ($2.8 billion) loss on the project, while it is also in dispute with TVO over financial responsibility for the delays.