The Areva-Siemens consortium constructing the third reactor at the Olkiluoto plant in Finland has told its customer Teollisuuden Voima Ojy (TVO) that most of the works will be completed by the end of 2012, with operation now set to start in 2013.
The state of the construction at Olkiluoto 3 at the end of May (Image: TVO)
In a statement, Areva said, "The main civil works are completed and almost all the buildings are now fully closed and weatherproofed. After delay at the onset, the piping installation is now in progress. In addition, installation of the main components, such as the reactor pressure vessel, will begin in the coming days."
"Furthermore, the relevant authorities will not raise further questions regarding the instrumentation and control (I&C) system’s architecture for the OL3 plant," Areva noted. Last week, the Finnish radiation and safety authority, Stuk, said that it is satisfied with the modifications proposed for the design of the I&C systems of the EPR under construction at Olkiluoto, but said that clearer documentation on the independence of the systems must still be provided.
"Preparations for plant commissioning will therefore begin as foreseen," Areva said. "The nuclear operation of the OL3 plant, including the fuel loading, will start at the end of 2012."
TVO CEO Jarmo Tanhua said, “The supplier has informed us that most of the works will be completed by the end of 2012.” He added, “However, commissioning will take months, which means Olkiluoto 3 will start producing electricity only in 2013.”
In October 2009, TVO announced that, "based on the latest progress report submitted by the plant supplier, Areva-Siemens, TVO now estimates that the start-up of the plant may be postponed beyond June 2012, which is the current schedule confirmed by the supplier." At that time, TVO said that it had requested a "re-analysis" by Areva-Siemens of the anticipated start-up date.
Work began on the 1600 MWe EPR in 2005, but various delays have seen the start-up date pushed back from the original schedule which would have seen it operate last year.
As the first EPR - a design produced by France's Areva, which includes the former nuclear business of Germany's Siemens - it has suffered from first-of-a-kind problems. The Areva-Siemens consortium building the unit for a fixed price of €3 billion ($4.1 billion) has faced many challenges with supply chain and construction practices.
In the first half of 2008, TVO submitted a claim to Areva-Siemens for compensation for "losses and costs incurred due to the delay" in completing the construction project. TVO had also rejected a claim presented to it by Areva-Siemens contesting that it had been much slower than agreed in processing and passing on technical documents to Stuk. The Areva-Siemens consortium has filed a request for arbitration with the International Chamber of Commerce.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News