Olkiluoto III start-up delayed again - reactor could go on stream only in 2012
Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), the Finnish nuclear power company that operates the Olkiluoto nuclear plant, reports that the new European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) being built on the site as Olkiluoto III may not now be completed until 2012. The French conglomerate Areva, building the new plant in collaboration with Siemens, has given TVO a new timetable for the construction work on the plant, Finland's fifth nuclear reactor.
Olkiluoto III was initially supposed to come into service in 2009, but the timetable was set back two years until 2011 after the building work has been beset with numerous overruns.
According to an article in Friday's Financial Times: "Areva is weighing the need for further delays to its flagship nuclear reactor in Finland, which could result in new provisions for a project already running two years behind schedule and an estimated EUR 1.5 billion (USD 2bn) over budget".
The newspaper says that both Areva and TVO admit that it will be "challenging" to meet the existing 2001 deadline.
Any further delays would be a heavy blow for Areva, who hope to benefit from the second coming of nuclear power but for whom the problems at Olkiluoto - their pilot project for the EPR is the first new nuclear reactor to be built in Western Europe in nearly two decades - are far from being the best possible advertisement.
When completed, Olkiluoto III will deliver a net output of around 1600 MW of electrical energy, roughly doubling the capacity of the Olkiluoto facility, where the two previous reactors went into service in 1978 and 1980 respectively.
Two further 488 MW reactors operate at the Loviisa power station operated by Fortum.
A decision on a fifth nuclear reactor for Finland, which currently gets around 28% of its electricity from nuclear energy, was reached in Parliament in 2002.
Work on Olkiluoto III got under way in 2005 and the project has often been in the headlines over construction and quality control problems.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Greenpeace denounces Finland´s nuclear energy programme (17.9.2008)
Greenpeace calls for suspension of construction on new nuclear reactor and safety review (14.8.2008)
Construction delays at nuclear plant spark row over compensation (1.2.2007)
Further delay in construction of Olkiluoto-3 nuclear reactor (5.12.2006)
Parliament approves fifth commercial nuclear reactor (24.5.2002)
Building union threatens strike at Olkiluoto nuclear reactor site (27.8.2008)
Finns reject criticism from French contractor on nuclear plant construction delays (28.2.2008)
Further nuclear reactor construction delays could lead to electricity shortage (13.8.2007)
Areva in talks with TVO over EPR delays (Financial Times)
Olkiluoto III (TVO)