Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) said in the April edition of its newsletter that an 'important phase' had been reached in the commissioning of the EPR under construction at unit 3 of the Olkiluoto NPP (OL3) with 128 tons of uranium fuel being delivered to the site. The plan is to load 241 fuel assemblies into the pressure vessel in the autumn, “but there’s a lot of work still to go both before loading and after”.
Hot functional tests have been carried out at OL3 over the past four months. During the testing, more than 200 different systemic tests will be carried out after which a safety assessment is expected from the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) before the government issues a final decision on the operating licence. After fuel loading, some of the tests already carried out during the hot testing will be repeated.
TVO said it is waiting for 'an overall rebaseline schedule' from the Areva-Siemens consortium building the unit because of some delays in the hot functional testing phase. “It is not yet possible to estimate whether or not the schedule will influence the start of the regular electricity production in May 2019,” it noted.
According to the latest schedule for OL3, grid connection is planned for December and the start of regular electricity production the following May.
Construction of OL3 began in 2005 under a turnkey contract signed between TVO and Areva-Siemens in late 2003. Completion of the reactor was originally scheduled for 2009, but the project has suffered a series of setbacks, as a result of which it is now ten years behind schedule and significantly over budget.
In March, TVO agreed on a settlement with Areva-Siemens in the long-running dispute over the cost overruns and delays following lengthy arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce. The consortium will pay TVO compensation of €450m ($554m), with supplier consortium companies being entitled to receive an "incentive payment" of up to €150m.
TVO said OL3 will cost €5.5 and will produce about 13% of Finland’s electricity. Finland imported electricity in 2017 on average capacity of 2300MWe. The net electrical output of OL3 is 1600MWe and, once in operation, “will strengthen the security of electricity supply and energy self-sufficiency in Finland”.
Photo: OL3 on the left (Credit: TVO)