Environmental study for Olkiluoto 4

15 February 2008

Building a fourth nuclear power reactor at Finland's Olkiluoto site would have a positive effect on the local economy, without causing danger to the public, TVO concluded in its environmental impact assessment.


How Olkiluoto will look when
unit 3 is complete

Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) submitted the EIA to the Finnish ministry of employment and the economy yesterday. The company already operates two 870 MWe boiling water reactors (BWRs) at the site, and is famously constructing a 1600 MWe pressurized water reactor (PWR) there too.


The EIA submitted by TVO specified only that a new unit would be a PWR or BWR with a power output of 1000 to 1800 MWe. Two separate locations on the Olkiluoto site were analysed for impact.


The main effects of a new large reactor at the site concern the warmer cooling water in the area of sea near the plant, the most substantial being an increased area of unfrozen water and weak ice that would limit fishing during the winter. Plant life in the water would be boosted by the slightly higher temperatures and enjoy a longer growing season.


Routine radioactive emissions from any new plant were assessed to have no harmful effects, while even emissions from a "very serious reactor accident" would have no "significant immediate health impact on even the nearest residents." Similarly, radioactive waste management arrangements were said to be adequate to avoid impacting public health or the environment. Potential employment effects were "substantial" but would come at the cost of increased traffic on certain roads.


A survey of nearby residents showed that those present all year round were more positive to the potential project than those using the area as a holiday home. Permanent residents showed a 55% level of support versus 37% for holiday residents.


TVO is continuing other studies concerning more power capacity for its shareholders, including alternatives to nuclear. The EIA submitted yesterday would have to be attached to an application for a Decision in Principle document, the next firm step on the path to a new nuclear plant under Finnish law. TVO said it has not yet chosen to apply for that.