Fennovoima sees delay in licensing of Hanhikivi 1

18 September 2017

Finland's Fennovoima now expects to receive the construction licence for its planned Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant in 2019. The company had previously expected to start construction of the plant next year, but the review of documentation related to its application is taking longer than originally envisaged.

Hanhikivi with AES-2006 460 (Fennovoima)
Impression of an AES-2006 VVER plant at Hanhikivi (Image: Fennovoima)

Fennovoima submitted its 250-page construction licence application to Finland's Ministry of Employment and the Economy for the planned Hanhikivi nuclear power plant project in June 2015. The application sets out details of the plant location, the reactor type, the main safety systems, nuclear waste management, financing of the project and Fennovoima's organisation, the company said.

The government's decision to issue a construction licence will require a positive assessment of the application by the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk). Fennovoima said it is in the process of supplying the regulator with the design documentation of the plant for assessment.

Fennovoima CEO Toni Hemminki said: "We have reviewed the progress of the work and decided to reschedule our goal to obtain the permit in 2019. Taking Finnish requirements and legislation into consideration in the design work has taken more time from the plant supplier than we originally expected. Since the delivery of documents during the first two years has been slower than expected, Stuk has also been unable to carry out their own assessment work on the scale they planned."

Fennovoima said it will provide a more detailed estimate for the schedule of the construction licence documents "once the schedule has been analysed with the plant supplier".

Fennovoima began excavation work at the Hanhikivi site in Pyhäjoki in northern Finland in January last year and aims to complete infrastructure work by the end of this year. Construction of the plant - based on a Russian-designed 1200 MWe AES-2006 VVER - can only start once the construction licence has been issued. Fennovoima had planned to start building the plant in 2018, with operation beginning in 2024.

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 Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom for the purpose of buying a share in the company. Russia's Titan-2 is the main contractor for the Hanhikivi project.

"Rosatom has built dozens of nuclear power plants around the world, and it is the most experienced nuclear power plant supplier in the world, so I am confident about the end results," Hemminki said. "For us, it is a big advantage that Hanhikivi 1's reference power plant, Leningrad II, will be completed in Sosnovy Bor next year. All the latest know-how and experience will be at our disposal during the construction phase."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News