Finnish regulator approves Loviisa safety assessments

07 February 2017

The continued operation of the Loviisa nuclear power plant is safe and meets legal requirements, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) has concluded following a review of operator Fortum's first periodic safety assessment of the two-unit plant.

Loviisa 1 and 2 - 460 (Fortum)
Loviisa units 1 and 2 (Image: Fortum)

The Finnish government issued operating licence extensions in July 2007, enabling Loviisa units 1 and 2 to operate until 2027 and 2030, respectively. However, a condition of those licence extensions was that Fortum perform periodic safety assessments every 10 years.

The scope of the periodic safety assessment corresponds to the assessment performed in conjunction with the renewal of an operating licence, Fortum said. The comprehensive assessments review the condition of the plant, especially the impact of ageing on the plant and its equipment and structures. The capability of the operator itself to ensure the continued safe operation of the plant is also assessed.

Fortum said it had submitted the documentation related to the first periodic safety assessment to Stuk by the end of 2015, as required.

Following a review of these reports and documents, as well as inspections of the plant, Stuk announced yesterday it had concluded the Loviisa units comply with safety requirements and Fortum has the ability to operate them safely.

Stuk deputy director Tomi Routamo said, "Fortum's defined development measures are adequate to ensure the safe operation of the plant until the end of the current licence." He added, "It is important that Fortum is committed to the development of the safety of the Loviisa power plant in the future."

Deputy plant director Thomas Buddas said: "The Loviisa power plant has produced electricity with nuclear power for nearly 40 years. During this time, safety and availability have been continuously developed with new technical improvements and by continuously investing in know-how and in the development of the safety culture."

He added, "The most extensive modernisation program in the Loviisa power plant's history is currently under way and will ensure safe and reliable electricity production to the end of the existing operating licences." The safety improvements included in this program will be implemented at both units by 2018, Buddas said.

Fortum is scheduled to submit the next periodic safety assessments for Loviisa 1 and 2 to Stuk by the end of 2023.

The Loviisa units are unique because they are of the Russian VVER-440 design but have Western instrumentation and control systems and enhanced safety features, such as strengthened containments. Unit 1 was commissioned in 1977 and unit 2 in 1981.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News