Olkiluoto (Finland)

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Olkiluoto hosts 2 old Boiling Water reactors and has been elected as the site for the EPR, the 5.th Finnish reactor. The construction of the Olkiluoto-3 reactor by AREVA and Siemens is two years behind schedule and will probably be 50% above the original budget.

Facilities in Olkiluoto

plantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
OlkiluotoHLW storage test-facility2002
Olkiluoto-3EPR 16002005
STUK requests further clarification of the automation system design for the Olkiluoto 3 project

The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority Finland (STUK) has asked Teollisuuden Voima Oyj for further clarification of the overall design of automation systems for the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant by 31 July 2009. This request for further clarification is related to the decision made in summer last year by STUK, in which it demanded that TVO revise the architecture of the plant’s automation systems.

In its inspections early last year, STUK observed several deficiencies in the automation system design of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant. From a safety point of view, the most significant deficiencies concerned the mutual independence of automation system components that back each other up. In July 2008, STUK issued a decision, in which it presented comments on the automation system design and demanded that TVO revise the documentation. STUK particularly emphasised the significance of the overall architecture of the automation systems.

TVO submitted a revised plan for the inspection of STUK in December 2008. Although the plan had been improved, the documents still contained weaknesses and contradictions with earlier documents. STUK asked for further clarification and, through a separate decision, presented demands for a protection system for the reactor. The reactor’s protection system is part of the key section of the automation system, the protection automation system, the function of which is to start up the plant’s safety systems in case of accident or malfunction.

In March 2009, TVO submitted a new version of the plan concerning automation system architecture. Both the automation system design and its related documentation had been improved, but they still contained deficiencies, resulting in STUK having to request for a third time greater precision and revisions. STUK is now requiring TVO for updated documents by the end of July. In addition to the documents in question, STUK has also asked TVO for further clarification concerning the validation of individual automation systems and devices.
(source: http://www.stuk.fi, spread by EnerWebWatch)


Potential implications of piping problems in Olki-3
Faults have been observed in the primary coolant pipes of Olkiluoto 3 that are being welded together in France. Finnish watchdog STUK has ordered the manufacturer to stop work until the issue is resolved.
(source: http://www.olkiluoto.info/fi/30/3/162/) The incriminated pieces have been manufactured by AREVA in France where the pipes still are. TVO states that the reparation works won't delay the work on Olkiluoto-3 and the problem implies no safety-relevance.


AREVA-Siemens estimates Olkiluoto 3 will be completed in summer of 2012
The AREVA-Siemens Consortium, the turn-key supplier of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant unit, has now confirmed Teollisuuden Voima Oyj´s (TVO) earlier estimation that the Olkiluoto 3 unit will not be completed until 2012. The plant unit should be almost ready by Jan.2009

The Consortium claims for delays in document handling and approval, TVO rejects the Consortium's accusations.


Areva takes new provision for Finnish nuclear plant losses

French nuclear group Areva has registered a further provision for
liabilities associated with its turnkey construction of the Olkiluoto-3
nuclear power plant in Finland for TVO.

Areva will announce the provision when it publishes its second-half 2008
results Friday after closure of the Paris bourse, according to Les Echos.

Areva has written two previous provisions to cover potential losses on
the Olkiluoto-3 reactor project, in March 2007 and in September 2007.

TVO continues to say it expects Areva to stick to the initial contract
budget of Eur 3.2 billion. Les Echos said several sources had
confirmed that the total amount of charges on Areva's books linked to
the Finnish project now exceeds Eur 1 billion.

Germany's Siemens and Areva's reactor-building subsidiary Areva NP,
which is 34% owned by Siemens, signed the contract to build the 1,600 MW
Olkiluoto-3 EPR, or European pressurized water reactor, unit with TVO in
December 2003.

The deal was Areva's first contract for an EPR, a so-called third-generation nuclear plant designed to have enhanced safety, longer life and better operational characteristics than second-generation reactors.

The Olkiluoto-3 project has been plagued by quality control problems,
notably on the civil engineering side, and Areva last year replaced the
original Finnish concrete subcontractor with French construction giant

The new provisions, however, are also due to rising costs of
construction materials as well as higher personnel costs linked to the
need for closer project control.

The Olkiluoto-3 project is now two years behind schedule, with
commercial operation expected in 2011 instead of the original contract
date of May 2009.


Fire at Olkiluoto 3 construction site

There was a small fire in the reactor building at the Olkiluoto 3 construction site in the early morning hours on Wednesday, July 30th. The fire was extinguished and the clearing in ongoing.
The fire was noticed at about 2 o'clock in the morning. A small amount of scaffolding material had ignited inside the reactor building, between outer and inner containment walls. The fire spread to two levels, but the fire brigade managed to extinguish it before 6 o'clock. The fire caused no personal injuries.
According to a report from the Finnish State Broadcasting company YLE News the fire caused extensive damage. The outer wall structures as well as those of the inner wall were affected.
Major concreting operations will be needed to repair the damage, The repair work is believed to take months.
The head of the department responsible for the oversight of new nuclear power plant projects in Finnish nuclear safety authority STUK, said that preliminary inspections have revealed damage in the structures of both the inner and the outer wall. STUK has not yet been able to determine whether the fire caused deeper
damage or even cracks to the wall structures, in addition to harming the surface of the concrete.


More problems at OL 3

The nuclear regulatory authority STUK warned,tha tthere is a risk of new problems with subcontractors as work on the EPR at OL 3 moves into the installation and commissioning phase. However, the project managers from TVO ads AREVA don't anticipate such problems.
Even if the design documentation has improved, it is still not sufficiently detailed, said STUK's representative. There are still significant problems concerning the I&C system, which are not solved.

Work on the unit is about two years behind schedule, with commercial startup now set to begin in summer 2011.

In an effort to make up lost time, work on the Olkiluoto-3 reactor and fuel buildings is going on 24 hours a day, Knoche said. Three shifts were put in place eight months ago, with 150 people per shift.

The sixth and seventh parts of the reactor liner are scheduled to be welded together soon and lifted into place.

The unit's steam generators are scheduled to be ready in the fall; they will be stored at Areva's factory at Chalon, in Burgundy, until installation, Knoche said.

EPR construction: 1700 "quality deviations" listed by the Finnish nuclear regulator

Besides the concrete base of the reactor building, which was not mixed properly and the steel container which was found to have inadequate welding, the Finnish nuclear regulator had detected 1,700 "listed quality deviations" on the project. The 1,600MW-capacity reactor is now around two years behind schedule.and about 1 billion Euro over budget.

TVO, the company destined to operate the new reactor, has been in a battle to defend the reactor's reputation. Its senior vice-president, Anneli Nikula, insists that the delays have come about because the reactor building has "such demanding safety features", such as "core catcher" technology that keeps the core safe in the event of a meltdown.

Even when the Finnish government gave the go-ahead for the reactor in 2002, Finland's people and its politicians were divided. It was only narrowly given parliamentary clearance, with 107 votes for and 92 against. By the summer of 2006, Finns seemed to have finally turned the corner in support of nuclear energy. But in reality, public support was always fragile. Most felt a resignation that in order to become more independent of Russian energy and meet its Kyoto commitments, the nuclear path was the only realistic one.

The Health and Safety Executive, which has the job of approving the design of the UK's new nuclear plants, says that it is aware of the issues that have arisen during Olkiluoto 3's construction. With another three years of the design approval process yet to run, it says it is "far too early" to speculate about which design will be given the go-ahead. Whichever design succeeds, though, Olkiluoto 3 serves as a potent warning that the construction of nuclear power plants remains an unpredictable and potentially costly business.
British interest in the EPR design remains strong. British Energy, which runs seven of the UK's nuclear power stations, has said it is considering the EPR design, while the French firm EDF has submitted plans to build an EPR plant in Britain. It has even teamed up with the French firm Areva, one of the companies behind the construction of Olkiluoto 3, to build the reactor. It is one of four designs currently in the race.

More delay and cost overruns for TVO 3

Financial Analysts have estimated the cost of the overruns at 1.5 billion Euro, half the reported 3 billion value of the project. At this time the construction is 3 years behind the schedule. Despite the plant was a fixed price commission, Areva intended to share the overrun cost with TVO. But TVO made clear that it will not agree to such a deal.

Lack of safety culture: The containment steel liner weld of TVO 3 has to be repaired

The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) on 10 September authorised continuation of the welding work on the containment steel liner of the nuclear power plant under construction in Olkiluoto. On 6 August STUK ordered the work to be discontinued until the problems observed in it have been resolved.

Containment steel liner segments, i.e. large prefabricated modules, were welded together in Olkiluoto in June.

The containment of a nuclear power plant prevents the spreading of radioactive substances into the environment and protects the primary circuit and safety systems from external events. The walls and dome of the inner containment are made of pre-stressed concrete with a leaktightness-ensuring steel liner on its inner surface. The inner containment is designed to withstand the overpressure and high temperature arising in severe accidents. The steel liner prevents releases into to the environment.

The outer containment is a higly massive pre-stressed concrete structure that withstands aeroplane crashes, among others.

Post-welding inspections revealed problems in weld quality and deformations in the steel liner. Welding design, implementation and inspection had failed. STUK did not approve of the repair plans first proposed by the constructors.

Due to the problems, STUK in early August ordered all steel liner related welding work to be discontinued until Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) and the plant vendor have thoroughly assessed the matter. In addition to repair plans, they were asked to propose how to improve the welding process and its quality assurance as well as the supervision of work in future work phases. STUK also required that loads exerted on the weld seam during accident situations be verified by independent calculations. The strength of the steel liner in pre-calculated situations must be demonstrated by laboratory tests later on.

INES Level 1 incident at Olkiluoto-2

STUK [[=Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority]] has assessed the impacts on plant safety of the
operational disturbance that occurred at unit 2 of Olkiluoto nuclear power plant. The event was of safety significance, because one of the systems used for automatic reactor shutdown, i.e. the scram function, did not operate as designed. During an emergency shutdown , the control rods have to enter the core automatically by means of pressure. This time, however, one of fourteen control rod groups failed to do so due to a valve failure. Electric motors operating as a back-up system inserted the control rod group into the reactor.
The safety of the plant, the environment or the population was not compromised at any time during the event. The reactor stopped automatically as designed.

TVO replaced the defective valve prior to plant restart. STUK oversaw the repairs.


Block 2 had to be disconnected after the breakout of a fire. The fire could be extinguished with a fire-extinguisher. The reason for the fire is still unclear. The block was reconnected to the grid after 6 days - after the annual maintenance works had been carried out.

Investigation report

After finding quality non-conformancies detected in the concrete used for the base slab of the EPR the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) published its first investigation report on problems of safety culture during construction.

STUK concluded in connection with the construction of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant that the performance of the organisations involved in the project and the interaction between the organisations did not in all respects meet the expectations that STUK has on good safety culture during the construction phase of a power plant. The identified problems had already impeded progress of the project and possibly increased schedule-related pressures during the later stages of the project.


Less than a year after start of construction TVO-3 is 9 month behind the schedule. !! (reported by the Financial Times)

Construction start of Olkiluoto Unit 3

Today the construction of Olkiluoto Unit 3 (EPR) started.
The EPR is intended to be the first Generation-3 reactor in Europe.
The reactor pressure vessel is produced in Japan, the steam generators and the pressuriser in France, the condenser in Indonesia, the turbine in Germany and the simulator in Canada. The generator is under construction in the USA and the pumps in Germany, France and Finland. The construction work of the reactor building, the safeguard buildings and the fuel building is carried out by the French company Bouygues together with several Finnish subcontractors. The erection of the construction site of the turbine building is also under way with the German company Heitkamp GmbH as main contractor, subcontractors from Finland are also involved.
The EPR design and construction is in the hand of AREVA-NP (66% AREVA and *43% Siemens AG). The price of 3,2 billion EURO for the turnkey project is a dumping price, made possible only by massive state aid from France, Bavaria (Germany) and Finland as well as by purchase guarantees from municipalities in Finnland.

The thermal output of the 3. Olkiluoto reactor is 4300 MW with a net electric power output of approximately 1600 MW. This power output is higher than the larger nuclear reactors of today. This includes the original Pressurised Water Reactors, the German Konvoi and the French N4, which operate in the range of 1300-1450 MW of power output. Compared to its predecessors, the EPR concept’s safety has improved, applying defence-in-depth more systematically.

Significant safety enhancements are planned:

  • special provisions in containment design for a severe reactor accident (core meltdown)
  • provisions for a large aircraft crash
  • safety systems implemented with subsystems carefully separated from each other (principles of redundancy and segregation)
  • increased use of the diversity principle in safety systems (for example, in safety automation, using both programmable (digital) and hardwired (analogue) technology)
  • simplification of emergency coolant recirculation and design of associated filters by experiment to cope with the worst-estimated load, and provision of a backflushing capability to ensure long-term operation.
Government grants construction licence

Plans for a new nuclear power unit in Finland advanced last week when the government granted a construction licence. Operator TVO welcomed the decision and forecast start-up in 2009, which it said would enhance Finland's ability to meet its Kyoto greenhouse gas emissions target. Environment group Greenpeace slammed the government for approving a dangerous new reactor despite an incomplete safety assessment and while the project is subject to a state aid investigation by the European Commission.

Contract with Framatome - Siemens

Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO) has made an investment decision on the new nuclear power plant unit Olkiluoto 3 and signed with the Framatome ANP - Siemens consortium a contract concerning the construction of a new nuclear power plant unit with a pressurized water reactor of about 1,600 MW.
More than 60 Finnish companies will participate in the investment and have a share of the electricity to be produced by the unit starting commercial operation in 2009.
The next phase in the Olkiluoto 3 project is the submission of the construction licence application to the Council of State. According to Mr Paavola, TVO aims at submitting the application already in January 2004.

Research facility ONKALO

Posiva Oy, which is responsible for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel in Finland, today filed the construction permit application for the underground research facility ONKALO with the Municipality of Eurajoki. The research facility will be constructed to verify the results so far obtained by drillings from above ground on the suitability of the bedrock in Olkiluoto for final disposal.
According to current plans, excavations will commence in the summer of 2004 but preparations on the site will start already in 2003. The construction of ONKALO is estimated to be completed by the year 2010. The cost estimate of the construction project of ONKALO is in the order of EUR 50 million.

Reaction to TVO's plans

Greenpeace today warned the shareholders of nuclear company TVO not to apply for a fifth nuclear reactor. Greenpeace is paying special attention to paper company UPM-Kymmene, which would be the largest private shareowner of the new reactor and consequently can decide whether an application will be handed in. The decision by UPM-Kymmene and other shareholders would endanger their environmental records and undermine the achievements Finland has made in the eyes of other European countries through the smart utilisation of it's wood energy potentials.

It is unbelievable that Finland, with a massive renewable energy potential and well developed technology, is thinking another nuclear plant, says Mike Townsley, energy campaigner from Greenpeace International.

To think that nuclear power, with it's problems could ever create competitive edge for Finland is a dangerous delusion. On the contrary, investment in this dying technology would be a serious mistake for Finnish paper companies.

Paper companies have the possibility to further increase utilisation of wood, develop wood energy technologies and efficiency of their production methods. According to many studies measures like these enable Finland to reach the Kyoto target without new nuclear power.
Follow up: http://www.greenpeace.fi

TVO applies for permission to build new nuclear power station

Finnish Energy firm TVO yesterday applied for permission to build a new nuclear power station, marking the first solid proposal for new nuclear capacity in western Europe since the mid-1980s

TVO's application triggers a three-stage licensing process. The government must now decide whether to back the proposal, following which the parliament must approve or reject it. This step is likely next summer.
Finnish political opinion over the prospect of a fifth nuclear station is split, with social democrat industry minister Sinikka Mönkäre thought to be in favour and Green environment minister Satu Hassi publicly against . MPs are more or less evenly divided, while Finnish industry is strongly in favour

TVO does not know what kind of a plant it will be neither if it will be situatated in Olkiluoto or Loviisa, and the costs are very rough figures 10-15 milliard Finnish marks (1,4 - 2,2 billion USD). TVO hopes to obtain a construction licence by 2003 or 2004 and have the plant in operation by 2008.

Finnish environmental groups are strongly opposed to any new nuclear capacity and launched a last-minute effort to stop TVO's application earlier this week. NGOs allege that the firm's real motive could be to avoid further energy efficiency policy measures aimed at cutting emissions or force cuts in the price of Russian natural gas.

Follow-up: TVO http://www.tvo.fi

Government granted 20-year license

Olkiluoto has been granted a new, 20-year license by the Finnish government, allowing each of the plant´s two BWRs to operate at an uprated 840 megawatts. It is the first time a Finnish license has been issued for a period longer than 10 years.
A key condition of the longer licenses is a comprehensive safety review at the 10-year mark. The Finnish Radiation & Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) had recommended the longer license be granted on that condition.
Given that STUK has broad powers to shut down a reactor for safety reasons, regardless of the license term, "it was considered more rational" to grant the longer license.
Separately, the ministry expects to make a statement this fall on Teollisuuden Voima Oy's (TVO) plan for an environmental impact study of a new reactor. Utility Imatran Voima Ly (IVO) is scheduled to submit a similar plan later this year.
Ministry secretary Jorma Sandberg also said that the ministry will probably ask for an updated review of alternatives to an underground final repository for spent fuel, following acceptance of the environmental impact study plan for the repository submitted by Posiva Oy. Posiva, jointly owned by TVO and IVO, is charged with developing final spent fuel storage in Finland.
Sandberg said that, because planning for spent fuel disposal began in the 1980s, reports on alternatives such as deep borehole disposal need to be reviewed in light of more recent developments.


A level 1 PSA just completed at the Olkiluoto plant has won high praise for its level of detail from Finnish regulators. The PSA, done in conjunction with a major modernization of the two BWRs that allowed a power uprate from 710 to 840 megawatts net each, showed the likelihood of a serious accident with core damage at 1,4 x 10-5.
At Olkiluoto, for instance, earthquakes were found to represent 35% of the risk for a serious accident, although the plant is not located in an earthquake area.

Test run at the uprated capacity of 840 MW

TVO began a two-month test run at the uprated capacity of 840 net MW each. A decision on permanent licensing at that power is expected in August.
The test run is the final phase of an 800-million markkaa (U.S.$151-million) modernization program that began in 1994.
Both units were originally rated at 658 MW net and were upgraded to 710 MW each in 1984. And in 1997 at 790 and 775 MW net, respectively.
The original AEG steam separators were replaced with General Electric components. During the recent refueling, 120 GE fuel elements were loaded into TVO-2. Previously, the plant used only ABB Atom and Siemens fuel.


The two Olkiluoto BWRs were originally rated 658 MW net, and were uprated to 710 MW each in 1984. The latest uprate gives each unit an additional 125 MW.
Modifications to the second unit, including turbine modifications, were completed during the May maintenance outage. Work began two weeks ago on the first unit and will include the same uprate modifications and testing.
Olkiluoto owner Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO) has requested a 20-year license, rather than the traditional 10-year permit. The Finnish Radiation & Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) will likely give its opinion this month.
One of the most difficult parts of the uprate has been qualifying the digital technology which will replace analog systems, especially instrumentation and control.

Fire in switchgear building

Short in 6.6 kV switchyard caused fire in switchgear building, probably started in a transformer, fire was limited to the non-nuclear part of the plant EDGs started as planned RPS functioned properly , total loss of external power for 7.5 hours

Jammed control rods

Following a scram it was noticed that some control rods had jammed. Inspections of the drives revealed the presence of metallic powder. The substance is used for sandblasting. Almost 20 kg of metallic steel filings were found at the base of the CR drive mechanism. The powder probably entered the RCS dudring the last outage and was flushed into the reactor with the startup of the cooling pumps. The reactor was off line for 4 weeks, the cleaning costed $17 million and power losses. Heatup started at Oct.18 but was interrupted on Oct.20. when 5 control rod drives faulted.-> CR drives and housings had to be recleaned.