Fortum looks to extend operation of Loviisa plant

13 August 2020

Finnish utility Fortum has begun the environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure for the operation of the two Loviisa nuclear units beyond their current licences. The two-stage process will take about 18 months to complete.

Loviisa (Image: Fortum)

Loviisa unit 1 began commercial operation in 1977 and is currently licensed to operate until the end of 2027. Unit 2, which entered commercial operation in 1981, is licensed until the end of 2030. Both units are VVER-440 pressurised water reactors.

The EIA will consider two options: continued operation of the plant for a maximum of 20 years beyond the current operating licences, followed by decommissioning; or decommissioning the plant - and its associated low and intermediate level waste disposal facility - at the end of the current licence period.

The first phase of the process will include the preparation by Fortum of the EIA programme, which will set out how the environmental impacts of the options will be assessed. The second phase will include the preparation of the EIA report. The procedure includes public consultations at both stages, with stakeholder feedback gathered nationally and internationally.

Finland's Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will act as the coordinating authority for the project, while the Ministry of the Environment will be responsible for international consultation.

Thomas Buddas, deputy director of the Loviisa plant, said the facility is in good technical condition and meets current safety requirements. Information from the EIA will support a possible new licence application, he said.

Four nuclear reactors - at Loviisa and Olkiluoto - provide about 30% of Finland's electricity. A fifth unit - Olikiluoto 3 - is under construction and is currently expected to begin electricity production in 2021. Another unit is planned for construction at Hanhikivi and is expected to begin commercial operation in 2028. Finland's government intends to phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2029 and last year announced a new energy policy with the objective of achieving carbon neutrality by 2035.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News