Fennovoima revises Hanhikivi 1 schedule and costs

28 April 2021

The planned Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant in Finland is now likely to enter commercial operation a year later and cost up to EUR1 billion (USD1.2 billion) more than previously expected, Fennovoima says in an update to its construction licence application. The company submitted the update today to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

The Hanhikivi 1 construction site (Image: Fennovoima)

Fennovoima signed the plant supply contract for Hanhikivi with Rusatom Overseas - Rosatom's nuclear power plant exports subsidiary - in December 2013. Rosatom offered to build a plant using a 1200 MWe AES-2006 VVER under a fixed-price contract. The Hanhikivi project is owned by Fennovoima, in which a 34% stake is held by RAOS Voima Oy, the Finnish subsidiary set up in 2014 by Rosatom for the purpose of buying a share in the company.

The update, Fennovoima said, "describes the material changes and development" that have taken place in the project since the original licence application was submitted on 30 June 2015.

"Since then, the project has progressed and the boundary conditions affecting it have changed," the company informed the ministry. "These changes do not change the basis of the project from the decision-in-principle phase, but they do supplement the information presented in the construction licence application." It noted, "The update does not change the scope of the Hanhikivi 1 project."

The design and licensing work for the Hanhikivi 1 project has progressed well over the past two years, Fennovoima said. However, "Ensuring compliance of the nuclear power plant design and licensing material with the Finnish requirements has caused some delays in the start of construction. On the other hand, the delay at the licensing phase has enabled better preparation for the transition to the construction phase, which is expected to reduce the cost, quality and schedule risks at the construction phase. The delay of approximately five years experienced at the licensing phase is expected to remain unchanged after the transition to the operational phase."

In the update, Fennovoima estimates that it could obtain the construction licence by the summer of next year and that construction of the power plant would begin in the summer of 2023. Commercial operation would begin in 2029, instead of the previously scheduled 2028.

Fennovoima also said the total investment costs of the project have increased to EUR7–7.5 billion, up from the previous estimate of EUR6.5–7 billion. This increase is "mainly due to the five-year delay in obtaining the construction licence and, to a lesser extent, changes in the project's scope of supply."

It noted that, as the plant supply contract with RAOS Project Oy is a fixed-priced contract, the excess additional costs are due to expenses from Fennovoima's own operations and, in particular, expenses from the Fennovoima organisation. "Compensation for the delay from the plant supplier would decrease the project's currently estimated total price," Fennovoima said.

Fennovoima CEO Joachim Specht said "The power plant project will be implemented on the Hanhikivi peninsula in Pyhäjoki, as described in the original application. At this stage, it is essential for both us and the plant supplier to prepare for the future phases of the project, both for the construction and the commissioning of the power plant. Based on the design material, we know that we will have a good nuclear power plant that can be built on the Hanhikivi peninsula, meeting strict Finnish requirements."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News