Symbolic milestone for Finnish EPR

24 October 2013

The reactor vessel head has been installed at Olkiluoto 3 marking the completion of the installation of heavy equipment in the first-of-a-kind EPR plant.

Olkiluoto 3 vessel head installation 460 (Areva)
The head is carefully lowered onto the reactor vessel. It will need to be removed later when fuel is loaded into the reactor. Once in place again, it will be fastened to the pressure vessel using 52 bolts. (Image: Areva)

The vessel head, weighing some 170 tonnes, was put in place at Olkiluoto 3 using the unit's polar crane, Areva announced. The company said the move was a milestone as the unit is now "the first EPR with a fully equipped reactor vessel, which is ready to accommodate a core of fuel assemblies."

Areva's Olkiluoto 3 project director Jean-Pierre Mouroux said that the installation of the vessel head "is a symbolic step in the history of the EPR reactor, and I would like to congratulate the teams who succeeded in carrying it out with perfection."

Olkiluoto 3 is being constructed for Finnish power company Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) by an Areva-Siemens consortium under a fixed-price turnkey contract. When construction began in 2005 a startup in 2009 was envisaged; however, the project has been beset by a mix of delays which have seen the startup date pushed back. TVO says it is "prepared for the possibility" that the plant may not now start regular electricity production until 2016.

EPRs are also under construction at Flamanville in France and Taishan 1 and 2 in China. Flamanville 3 has been under construction since 2007 and is expected to start up in 2016. Taishan 1, which has been under construction since 2009, is expected to start up in 2014, while Taishan 2 is scheduled to begin operating a year later.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News