Fortum to seek licence extension for Loviisa plant

03 March 2022

Finnish utility Fortum announced it will apply to renew the operating licences for both units 1 and 2 of the Loviisa nuclear power plant until the end of 2050.

The Loviisa plant (Image: Fortum)

The Loviisa plant - comprising two VVER-440 type pressurised water reactors - was the first nuclear power plant in Finland and currently provides more than 10% of the country's electricity. Loviisa unit 1 began commercial operation in 1977, with unit 2 following in 1981. The operating licences for the units were renewed in 1998 and 2007, respectively. The current operating licences expire at the end of 2027 and 2030.

Fortum submitted its environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the Loviisa plant to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on 6 September last year. The report assessed the environmental impacts of a potential extension of the operation of the plant or, alternatively, its decommissioning, as well as the environmental impacts of the final disposal facility for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste.

The utility has now announced its decision to seek a further extension to the plant's operating licences. Fortum will submit its application to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment by the end of March. The application will then be sent to the Finnish government for review.

The government will request statements from a range of various parties, including the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk), and will make its decision based on expert statements. The process is estimated to take about one year.

When submitting the operating licence application, Fortum will also apply for a licence to use the low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste final disposal facility located at the Loviisa site until 2090, after which the facility will be permanently sealed.

"I am very pleased that we have now decided to apply for new operating licence for Loviisa nuclear power plant," said Fortum President and CEO Markus Rauramo.

"For Fortum, nuclear power is a key pillar of emissions-free electricity production, and continuing production in Loviisa is above all an investment in securing the supply of clean domestic electricity. As a reliable production form, nuclear power also enables growth of wind power-based energy.

"The economic, political and societal aspects were factored into our decision. We at Fortum are especially pleased that acceptance of domestic nuclear power is now at a historic high among citizens and political parties alike."

Fortum said it has invested some EUR325 million (USD360 million) in the Loviisa plant over the past five years. Investments related to continuing of operations and lifetime extension, it said, will amount to an estimated EUR1 billion until 2050.

"Thanks to persistent and responsible development of operations and modernisations, the power plant is in good condition and we can safely continue its operations," said Simon-Erik Ollus, executive vice president of Fortum's Generation Division. "We are very pleased that we can proceed with the preparation of the operating licence application."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News