Operating licence application submitted for Finnish EPR

14 April 2016

Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) has today submitted its operating licence application for unit 3 of the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant. The first-of-a-kind EPR plant is scheduled to start up in late 2018.

Olkiluoto 3 - April 2016 - 460 (TVO)
The Olkiluoto EPR, pictured earlier this month (Image: TVO)

TVO announced today that it has submitted its 130,000-page application to the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The application contains information on, among other things, the technical and operational safety principles, arrangement for nuclear waste management, and details of TVO's expertise and financial position.

In addition to seeking approval to operate Olkiluoto 3 for an initial 20-year period (from the beginning of 2018 to the end of 2038), TVO's application also seeks permission to use the existing on-site interim storage facilities for the used fuel and other radioactive wastes that will be generated by the unit over this period. The application does not concern the use of final disposal facilities for nuclear wastes.

The application will now be reviewed by the Finnish nuclear regulator STUK, as well as several ministries and certain other authorities and communities. STUK will give its safety assessment for the application, while the others will submit statements to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The Finnish government will make a decision on TVO's application based on the ministry's recommendations.

STUK said that as it has already inspected and approved the design of the plant during the construction phase, the focus of its assessment for the operating licence will be verifying updated safety analyses and TVO's preparation for operation. It said this assessment will take about 18 months to complete and that STUK will deliver its statement to the ministry at the end of 2017.

"TVO has already submitted most of the operating licence materials to STUK", said Tapani Virolainen, deputy director of STUK's nuclear reactor regulation department. "STUK has granted a six-month extension only for the provision of certain analysis results."

TVO senior vice president for the Olkiluoto 3 project Jouni Silvennoinen said the submission of the operating licence application is "an important milestone" towards commissioning of unit. "Now the project is moving from installations to testing. The operating licence application process is the most important phase of the final acceptance of a nuclear power plant project before start up of the new power plant unit," Silvennoinen said.

TVO said it anticipates obtaining the operating licence for Olkiluoto 3 towards the end of 2017, after which nuclear commissioning will start at the unit. Commercial operation of the reactor is expected to begin by the end of 2018.

Instrumentation and control system testing at Olkiluoto 3 started in January and last week testing began of the first process system - the seawater system. The company said the main electromechanical installations, including piping works, will be completed by mid-2016.

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, which is now expected by 2018. 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 early 2017, while Taishan 2 is scheduled to begin operating later that year.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News