Dates revised again for Olkiluoto 3

10 August 2007

Finland's fifth nuclear power unit is to be delayed by several months more than previously thought, according to simultaneous statements by Areva and Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO).

Olkiluoto 3 will be the first Generation III+ nuclear power reactor in the world when complete, but that day has been pushed back to an unspecified point in 2011, compared to the last estimate of the end of 2010 and the original date of 2009.

The 1600 MWe pressurized water reactor (PWR) should eventually stand beside two boiling water units (BWRs) that have been running since 1978 and 1979 at the site owned by TVO, a company that supplies large quantities of electricity to its major shareholders' heavy industrial plants.

As the first Evolutionary PWR (EPR) - a design produced by France's Areva, which includes the former nuclear business of Germany's Siemens - it has suffered from first-of-a-kind problems. The Areva-Siemens consortium building the unit for a fixed price of Eur3 billion ($4.1 billion) has faced many challenges, although an infestation of Greenpeace activists in May was not thought to have added to them.

First to come to light were irregularities in foundation concrete, which caused work to slow on site for months. Later it was found that subcontractors had provided heavy forgings that were not up to project standards and which had to be re-cast. Now, TVO has explained, achieving "contractually defined advanced safety features of the reactor building... is taking longer than anticipated." TVO used fortification against large aircraft impact as an example.

Under the last revised schedule, civil works were planned to be complete in the summer of 2008. That has been pushed back to winter 2009. "TVO is disappointed that the supplier only now reports the time that it believes is needed to complete the civil construction works," said Martin Landtman, manager of the project for TVO.

Areva said that with commercial operation set for 2011, the de-facto construction time of the unit would be six years - "equal to the worldwide average."

In the last six months construction has moved from seven meters below ground level to 12 meters above, and in coming weeks some components such as large tanks will be installed as work moves up level by level. An enhanced process is being used to re-cast rejected sections of the primary coolant circuit, tubing tests are underway on the first of four steam generators, and engineering documentation work has been stepped up.

Further information

Siemens Power Generation
Teosulliden Voima Oy, TVO

WNA's Nuclear Energy in Finland information paper

WNN: Areva to produce Olkiluoto concrete
WNN: New operation date for Olkiluoto 3