Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant

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Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant
Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant 2015-07-21 001 (cropped).jpg
Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in 2015.
Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant is located in Finland
Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant
Location of Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant
Country Finland
Location Eurajoki
Coordinates 61°14′13″N 21°26′27″E / 61.23694°N 21.44083°E / 61.23694; 21.44083Coordinates: 61°14′13″N 21°26′27″E / 61.23694°N 21.44083°E / 61.23694; 21.44083
Status Operational
Construction began 1973
Commission date 10 October 1979
Owner(s) Teollisuuden Voima Oy
Nuclear power station
Reactor type 2 × BWR
1 × PWR (EPR)
Reactor supplier ASEA-Atom (units 1 and 2)
Areva (unit 3)
Cogeneration? Yes
Cooling source Gulf of Bothnia
Power generation
Units operational 1 × 880 MW, 1 × 890 MW
Make and model Stal-Laval (units 1 and 2)
Siemens (unit 3)
Units under const. 1 × 1600 MW
Units planned 1 (1000–1800 MW)
Nameplate capacity 1760 MW
Capacity factor 92.5%
Annual net output 14,268 GW·h

The Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant (Finnish: Olkiluodon ydinvoimalaitos) is on Olkiluoto Island, which is on the shore of the Gulf of Bothnia in the municipality of Eurajoki in western Finland. It is one of Finland's two nuclear power plants, the other being the two-unit VVER Loviisa Nuclear Power Plant. The plant is owned and operated by Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), a subsidiary of Pohjolan Voima.

The Olkiluoto plant consists of two Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) producing 880 MW and 890 MW of electricity. Unit 3, an EPR reactor, is still under construction, but various problems with workmanship and supervision have created costly delays which have been the subject of an inquiry by the Finnish nuclear regulator Säteilyturvakeskus (STUK).[1] In December 2012, the French multi-national building contractor, Areva, estimated that the full cost of building the reactor will be about €8.5 billion, or almost three times the delivery price of €3 billion.[2][3] A license for a fourth reactor to be built at the site was granted by the Finnish parliament in July 2010,[4][5][6] but discontinued by the government in September 2014. TVO has the option to reapply for the license in the future.[7]

According to Financial Times in December 2014 construction of unit 3 has descended into farce as it is currently expected to open nine years late and several billions of euros over budget.[8]

Units 1 and 2[edit]

Units 1 and 2 consists of two BWRs producing 880 MW and 890 MW of electricity respectively, with unit 1 also planned to be upgraded to 890 MW in spring 2018.[9][10] The main contractor was ASEA-Atom, now a part of Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB. Turbine generators were supplied by Stal-Laval. The units' architecture was designed by ASEA-Atom. The reactor pressure vessels were constructed by Uddcomb Sweden AB, and reactor internal parts, mechanical components by Finnatom. The electrical equipment was supplied by Strömberg.[11] Unit 1 was constructed by Atomirakennus and unit 2 by Jukola and Työyhtymä.[12][13] Unit 1 achieved its initial criticality in July 1978 and it started commercial operations in October 1979.[12] Unit 2 achieved its initial criticality in October 1979 and it started commercial operations in July 1982.[13]

Major upgrades were carried out to the units in 2010 and 2011, including replacement of turbines and generators, isolation valves, electrical switchgear and seawater pumps. The upgrades increased the net electrical output by 20 MWto 880 MW each.[14]

In 2017, unit 2 was upgraded and modernized, increasing the output further to 890 MW from the beginning of 2018. A similar upgrade to unit 1 is planned for spring 2018. The extended maintenance was also made to prepare for a license renewal application, which is still pending as of January 2018.[10]

Unit 3[edit]

Olkiluoto 3 in 2009.

In February 2005, the Finnish cabinet gave its permission to TVO to construct a new nuclear reactor, making Finland the first Western European country in 15 years to order one.[15] The construction of the unit began in 2005. The start of commercial operation was planned for 2010,[16] but has been pushed back several times. [17] As of October 2017, the estimate for start of production is May 2019. [18]

Olkiluoto 3 is the first EPR, which is a type of third generation PWR, to have gone into construction. It will have a nameplate capacity of 1600 MW. Japan Steel Works and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries manufactured the unit's 526-ton reactor pressure vessel.[19]

At the start of construction, the main contractor was Areva NP, a joint venture of Areva and Siemens. However, in 2009, Siemens sold its one-third share of Areva NP to Areva, which is now the main contractor.[20][21] Siemens remained on the project as the subcontractor with the main responsibility for constructing the turbine hall. Areva is currently in negotiations to sell a majority stake in Areva NP, its nuclear reactor and fuel business, to Électricité de France.[22]

According to TVO, the construction phase of the project would create a total of about 30,000 person-years of employment directly and indirectly; that the highest number of on-site employees has been almost 4,400; and that the operation phase would create 150 to 200 permanent jobs.[23]


Main milestones of the project and other surrounding events[21][24][25]
Date Event
December 2000 TVO applies to the Finnish cabinet for a decision-in-principle on the new unit[26]
17 January 2002 decision-in-principle by the Finnish cabinet
24 May 2002 the Finnish parliament approves the decision-in-principle
8 January 2004 TVO submits construction application to the Finnish cabinet
17 February 2005 the Finnish cabinet approves the construction application
July 2005 start of construction
May 2006 lifting and installation of the bottom part of containment liner
June 2007 reactor building containment liner rises to level +12.5 m
May 2008 fuel building APC shell completed
2009 Siemens withdraws from the joint venture with Areva, leaving the latter as the main contractor
January 2009 reactor pressure vessel and vessel head arrive on site
May 2009 main control room lifting in Safeguard Building 2
Summer 2009 polar crane installation, dome installation
Autumn 2009 steam generators arrive on site
September 2009 EPR dome installed
June 2010 installation of the reactor pressure vessel in the reactor building
June 2011 Anne Lauvergeon leaves her position as CEO of Areva[27]
November 2011 installation of heavy components of the primary cooling system complete
July 2012 delay in start of production to no earlier than 2015 announced[5]
December 2012 Areva estimates that the full cost of building the reactor will be about €8.5 billion, or almost three times the delivery price of €3 billion[2][3]
February 2013 TVO said that it is "preparing for the possibility" that the third unit at Olkiluoto may not start operating until 2016 [28]
February 2014 Areva shutting down construction due to dispute over compensations and unfinished automation planning. Operation estimated to be delayed until 2018–2020.[29]
September 2014 Areva announced it expected construction completion and commissioning to start in mid-2016, with operation expected to start in 2018. TVO stated they were surprised that commissioning was expected to take so long.[30]
December 2015 The operational automation systems began to be delivered and installed.[31] Commercial operation is estimated for December 2018.[32]
January 2016 Testing of the operational automation systems begins.[33]
October 2016 TVO calls on Siemens to take financial responsibility for the completion of the project because its project partner, the French Areva Group, is being broken up by the French government.[34][35]
October 2017 The completion is delayed to May 2019 as announced by TVO.[18]
December 2017 Hot functional testing begins.[36]

Construction delays[edit]

The first license application for the third unit was made in December 2000[37] and the date of the unit's entry into service was estimated to be 2010.[38] However, since the start of construction, several delays to the schedule have been announced. In July 2012 TVO announced that the unit would not go into service before 2015,[5][39] five years after the original estimate. In a statement, the operator said it was "not pleased with the situation" although solutions to various problems were being found and work was "progressing", and that it was waiting for a new launch date from Areva and Siemens.[6] In February 2014, TVO said that it is could not give an estimate of the plant's startup date, because it was "still waiting for the Areva-Siemen [sic] consortium to provide it with an updated overall schedule for the project."[40] Later the same month it was reported that Areva was shutting down construction due to the dispute over compensations and unfinished automation planning. According to Kauppalehti the estimated opening was delayed until 2018–2020.[29]

The delays have been due to various problems with planning, supervision, and workmanship,[5] and have been the subject of an inquiry by STUK, the Finnish nuclear safety regulator.[41] The first problems that surfaced were irregularities in the foundation concrete, and caused a delay of 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. An apparent problem constructing the reactor's unique double-containment structure also caused delays, as the welders had not been given proper instructions.[41]

In 2009, Petteri Tiippana, the director of STUK's nuclear power plant division, told the BBC that it was difficult to deliver nuclear power plant projects on schedule because builders were not used to working to the exacting standards required on nuclear construction sites, since so few new reactors had been built in recent years.[42]

At the end of 2013, TVO said that the Areva-Siemens consortium plans to reduce workers and subcontractors on the construction site and says that it expects the contractor to provide details about the expected impact on the project's schedule.[43]

After the construction of the unit started in 2005, Areva began constructing EPRs in Flamanville, France, and in Taishan, China. However, as of July 2012, the construction of the EPR in France is four years behind schedule,[6] and it seems that the two EPRs being constructed in China will be the first ones to enter service.[39]


The main contractor, Areva, is building the unit for a fixed price of €3 billion, so in principle, any construction costs above that price fall on Areva. In July 2012, those overruns were estimated at more than €2 billion,[39] and in December 2012, Areva estimated that the full cost of building the reactor would be about €8.5 billion, well over the previous estimate of €6.4 billion.[2][3] Because of the delays, TVO and Areva are both seeking compensation from each other through the International Court of Arbitration. In October 2013, TVO's demand for compensation from Areva had risen to €1.8 billion, and Areva's from TVO to €2.6 billion.[44] In December 2013, Areva increased its demand to €2.7 billion.[45] As of November 2016, the case is still ongoing.[46]

According to some estimates, Olkiluoto reactor could be the fifth or sixth most expensive structure in the world,[citation needed] even more expensive than the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.


In 2009, professor Stephen Thomas wrote, "Olkiluoto has become an example of all that can go wrong in economic terms with new reactors," and that Areva and the TVO "are in bitter dispute over who will bear the cost overruns and there is a real risk now that the utility will default."[47]

The project has also been criticized by STUK because "instructions have not been observed in the welding of pipes and the supervision of welding."[41] STUK has also noted that there have been delays in submitting proper paperwork.[48][49]

Olkiluoto 3 was supposed to be the first reactor of 3+ generation which would pave the way for a new wave of identical reactors across Europe, safe, affordable, and delivered on time. The delays and cost overruns have had knock-on effects in other countries.[42]

The construction workforce includes about 3,800 employees from 500 companies. 80% of the workers are foreigners, mostly from eastern European countries. It has been reported that one Bulgarian contracting firm is owned by the mafia, and that Bulgarian workers have been required to pay weekly protection fees to the mafia, wages have been unpaid, employees have been told not to join a union and that employers also reneged on social security payments.[50][51]

Unit 4[edit]

On 14 February 2008, TVO submitted an environmental impact assessment of unit four to the Ministry of Employment and Economy.[52] On 21 April 2010, the government of Finland decided to grant a permit to Teollisuuden Voima for the fourth reactor in Olkiluoto. The decision was approved by the parliament on 1 July 2010.[53] If constructed, the fourth unit would be a PWR or a BWR with a power output of 1,000 to 1,800 MW.[52]

In September 2014, with unit 3 still unfinished, the Finnish government cancelled plans to build a second EPR,[54] opting instead to permit a single-reactor project of Fennovoima consortium to build up a wholly new nuclear plant instead. Economic Affairs Minister Jan Vapaavuori referred to the long delay of the OL 3rd reactor and to unsatisfactory assurances by TVO that the 4th unit would ever be built. Nevertheless PM Stubb stated that the rejection didn't spell the end for the OL4 project, and that TVO would have the opportunity to re-apply for a nuclear permit sometime before June 2015.[7]

In June 2015 TVO decided not to apply for a construction permit for the Olkiluoto 4 unit because of delays with the unit 3, however saying they are prepared to file for a new decision-in-principle later.[55][56]

Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository[edit]

Onkalo pilot repository cave.

The Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository is a deep geological repository for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel, the first such repository in the world. It is currently under construction at the Olkiluoto plant by the company Posiva, owned by the nuclear power plant operators Fortum and TVO.


The waste heat, an output common to all thermal power plants, which heats the cooling water (at 13 °C) is utilized for small-scale agriculture before being pumped back to the sea. The power plant hosts the northernmost vineyard in the world, a 0.1 ha experimental plot that yields 850 kg Zilga grapes annually.[57] Another use is a pond for growing crabs, whitefish and sturgeon for caviar.[58]


In April 2014 a turbine steam condenser of unit 1 had a small seawater leak, at a rate of two litres per hour. According to the operator, the leak forced to limit the plant output down to 300 MW, but was not serious and was to be repaired in a day.[59]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Olkiluoto pipe welding 'deficient', says regulator". World Nuclear News. 16 October 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Suomenkin uusi ydinvoimala maksaa 8,5 miljardia euroa". Helsingin Sanomat. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Areva Again Raises Estimate of Cost of Olkiluoto Reactor". The Wall Street Journal. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Kinnunen, Terhi (2010-07-01). "Finnish parliament agrees plans for two reactors". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Olkiluoto 3 delayed beyond 2014". World Nuclear News. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Finland's Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant delayed again". BBC. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Stubb: Nuclear reactor project still possible despite cabinet rejection". Yle. 25 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  8. ^ Finland and Russia deepen energy ties Financial Times December 2, 2014
  9. ^ "Finland, Republic of: Nuclear Power Reactors". Power Reactor Information System. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "Olkiluodon ydinvoimalaitoksella modernisointeja, tehonkorotuksia ja tasaista sähköntuotantoa". TVO. 3 January 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2018. 
  11. ^ "Nuclear power plant units Olkiluoto 1 and Olkiluoto 2" (PDF). Teollisuuden Voima. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "TVO 1". International Nuclear Safety Center. Archived from the original on December 3, 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "TVO 2". International Nuclear Safety Center. Archived from the original on December 3, 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  14. ^ "2011 sees record outage at Olkiluoto 2". Nuclear Engineering International. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Nuclear Power in a Post-Fukushima World The world nuclear industry status report 2010–2011 World Watch, page 60.
  16. ^ Chronology of Olkiluoto 3 Project
  17. ^ "Olkiluoto 3 begins instrumentation and control tests". World Nuclear News. 2016-01-14. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  18. ^ a b "Plant supplier informs that regular electricity production of Olkiluoto 3 EPR starts in May 2019". TVO. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-09. 
  19. ^ "OL3 Reactor Pressure Vessel Arrived in Olkiluoto". TVO. 4 January 2009. The OL3 reactor pressure vessel was manufactured at Japan Steel Works and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 
  20. ^ "Siemens to give up nuclear joint venture with Areva". Helsingin Sanomat. 27 January 2009. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  21. ^ a b "Siemens quits the nuclear game". World Nuclear News. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  22. ^ "Areva looks to finalize reactor business sale". World Nuclear News. 2016-01-28. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  23. ^ "OL3 - koko Suomen projekti". Power Reactor Information System. TVO. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  24. ^ A timeline published by Areva
  25. ^ A timeline published by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy
  26. ^ "Licensing of Olkiluoto 3". STUK. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  27. ^ "Lauvergeon Leaves Areva on 'Good' Track-Record, Besson Says". Bloomberg. 18 June 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  28. ^ "TVO prepares for further Olkiluoto 3 delay". World Nuclear News. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  29. ^ a b Paula Nikula (28 February 2014). "Areva ajaa Olkiluodon työmaata alas" (in Finnish). Kauppalehti. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  30. ^ "Olkiluoto 3 startup pushed back to 2018". World Nuclear News. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  31. ^ "Olkiluodon työmaalla jälleen vipinää". YLE. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  32. ^ "Projektijohtaja: OL3 aikataulu TVO:n hanskassa". YLE. 14 December 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  33. ^ "TVO innoissaan: Olkiluodon kolmosreaktorissa alettu testata tärkeää järjestelmää". YLE. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  34. ^ "How Siemens could become a nuclear company again". Clean Energy Wire (CLEW). Berlin, Germany. 26 October 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-01. 
  35. ^ Kläsgen, Michael; Büschemann, Karl-Heinz (25 October 2016). "Kernenergie: Wie Siemens doch wieder zum Atomkonzern werden könnte" [Nuclear power: How Siemens could become an nuclear enterprise again]. Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Munich, Germany. Retrieved 2016-11-01. 
  36. ^ http://world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Hot-functional-tests-begin-at-Finnish-EPR-1912174.html
  37. ^ STUK: Licensing of Olkiluoto 3: Preliminary safety assessment on the application for a fifth nuclear power plant [1]
  38. ^ "Chronology of Olkiluoto 3 project". Areva. 27 September 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. 
  39. ^ a b c Boxell, James (16 July 2012). "Areva's atomic reactor faces further delays". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  40. ^ "Finnish EPR passes integrity tests". World Nuclear News. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  41. ^ a b c "Olkiluoto pipe welding 'deficient', says regulator". World Nuclear News. 16 October 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  42. ^ a b Jones, Meirion (25 November 2009). "New UK nuclear stations unlikely to be ready on time". BBC. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  43. ^ "Areva-Siemens to cut staff at Olkiluoto 3 site -TVO". Reuters. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  44. ^ "Olkiluoto-kiista kovenee: Areva nosti korvausvaatimuksensa 2,6 miljardiin". YLE. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  45. ^ "Claim for Olkiluoto 3 delays explodes to 2.7 billion". YLE. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  46. ^ https://archive.is/20161111162508/http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C-TVO-welcomes-partial-award-in-Olkiluoto-EPR-arbitration-1011164.html
  47. ^ The Myth of the European "Nuclear Renaissance" Archived 2009-06-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  48. ^ Leaked Olkiluoto letter Nuclear Engineering International, 11 May 2009.
  49. ^ Finnish plant demonstrates nuclear power industry's perennial problems
  50. ^ "TVO: Arevalta vaadittu suomalaisten sopimusten noudattamista". Helsingin Sanomat. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  51. ^ "Paper: Workers at Olkiluoto forced to pay protection money to mafia". YLE. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  52. ^ a b "Environmental study for Olkiluoto 4". World Nuclear News. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2008. 
  53. ^ Kinnunen, Terhi (1 July 2010). "Finnish parliament agrees plans for two reactors". Reuters. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  54. ^ Jim Green and Oliver Tickell (15 May 2015). "Finland cancels Olkiluoto 4 nuclear reactor - is the EPR finished?". The Ecologist. 
  55. ^ "TVO ei aio hakea rakentamislupaa Olkiluoto 4:lle". yle. 24 June 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  56. ^ "TVO will not now apply for construction license for OL4" (Press release). 24 June 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  57. ^ http://www.tiede.fi/keskustelut/biologia-ja-ymparisto-f9/totuus-olkiluodon-viinirypaleista-t17157.html
  58. ^ http://www.tvo.fi/www/page/3140/
  59. ^ ([2] Yle news 14.4.2014

External links[edit]