Finnish EPR starts key pre-operational tests

12 June 2017

Cold functional tests have begun at the first-of-a-kind EPR unit at Olkiluoto, Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) announced today. The unit is expected to be in operation by the end of next year.

Olkiluoto 3 - August 2016 - 460 (TVO)
The Olkiluoto EPR, pictured in August 2016 (Image: TVO)

Cold functional tests are carried out to confirm whether components and systems important to safety are properly installed and ready to operate in a cold condition. The main purpose of these tests is to verify the leak-tightness of the primary circuit.

These tests will take about four weeks to complete, during which time dozens of tests will be carried out at different pressure levels. The reactor's main coolant pumps will be started for the first time. The pressure is gradually increased in the reactor coolant system to a maximum value significantly exceeding the normal operating pressure.

"This is an important step in plant commissioning," said Olkiluoto 3 project director Jouni Silvennoinen. "The hot functional tests scheduled for autumn are the next major milestone."

He added, "Once this stage has been successfully completed, OL3 will fulfil the preconditions for the granting of the operating licence in early 2018. There are several important milestones to be met before the start of regular electricity production at the end of 2018."

In April 2016, TVO submitted its operating licence application for Olkiluoto 3 to the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy. TVO anticipates obtaining the operating licence towards the end of this year, after which nuclear commissioning will start at the unit.

The first-of-a-kind EPR at Finland's Olkiluoto plant has been under construction since 2005 and has seen several revisions to its start-up date. The Flamanville EPR in France, construction of which began in 2007, is now expected to start up in late 2018.

Taishan 1 in China, which has been under construction since 2009, is expected to start up in the second half of 2017, while Taishan 2 is scheduled to begin operating in the first half of 2018.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News