Twenty more years for Loviisa plant

27 July 2007

The two pressurized water reactors (PWRs) at Finland's Loviisa site could operate until 2027 and 2030 under new licenses granted on 26 July.

Owners Fortum Power and Heat aim for the units, which were built in 1977 and 1981, to have lifespans of 50 years. The company said the new licenses "give a solid foundation for further sustainable development of both safety and operability."

The Loviisa units are unique in that the reactors are of the Russian VVER design, but have Western control and instrumentation systems and enhanced safety features such as strengthened containments. Past engineering work has increased their generating capacity by 9.7% and the both now output 488 MWe.

According to Finnish nuclear regulations, safety experts Stuk would conduct two periodic safety reviews during the licence period: One by the end of 2015 and the second by the end of 2023.

Fortum plan more improvements to the units, and Stuk have said it considers it important that the first periodic safety review occurs soon after those changes. A Stuk statement mentioned monitoring for potential embrittlement of the reactor vessels - an ageing issue that could necessitate remediation work. However, Stuk also said that it knows of no obstacles in principle to the extended operation of the plants.

Stuk gave its approval for Loviia's new licenses on 6 July. It needed subsequent approval by the Council of State because Green members of parliament had requested license extensions of only ten years, and their linking to a long-term climate and energy strategy.

Finland has another nuclear power plants: Olkiluoto, owned by Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO). At Olkiluoto, two boiling water reactors operate and one new PWR is under construction.

A third nuclear power company is emerging in the country, called Fennovoima Oy. It is a consotrium of energy companies and heavy industrial energy users which hopes to establish a third site with new reactors in coming years.

Further information


WNA's Nuclear Energy in Finland information paper