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Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant

Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant
Olkiluoto island with the two existing units, and the third (leftmost) unit shown as complete (this is a manipulated image).
Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant is located in Finland
Location of Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Finland
Country Finland
Location Eurajoki
Status Operational
Construction began 1973
Commission date 10 October 1979
Owner(s) Teollisuuden Voima Oy
Nuclear power station
Reactor type 2 x BWR
1 x PWR (EPR)
Reactor supplier ASEA-Atom (units 1 and 2)
Areva (unit 3)
Thermal power station
Cooling source Gulf of Bothnia
Power generation
Units operational 2×880 MW
Make and model Stal-Laval (units 1 and 2)
Siemens (unit 3)
Units under const. 1×1,600 MW
Units planned 1 (1,000–1,800 MW)
Nameplate capacity 1,760
Annual generation 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) with 860 MWe each. 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, 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 1
  • Unit 3 2
    • Timeline 2.1
    • Construction delays 2.2
    • Cost 2.3
    • Criticism 2.4
  • Unit 4 3
  • Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository 4
  • Agriculture 5
  • Incidents 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes and references 8
  • External links 9

Units 1 and 2

Units 1 and 2 consists of two BWRs with 880 MW each.[9] 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.[10] Unit 1 was constructed by Atomirakennus and unit 2 by Jukola and Työyhtymä.[11][12] Unit 1 achieved its initial criticality in July 1978 and it started commercial operations in October 1979.[11] Unit 2 achieved its initial criticality in October 1979 and it started commercial operations in July 1982.[12]

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 MW to 880 MW each.[13]

Unit 3

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.[14] Commercial operation was planned for 2010.[15]

The construction of the unit began in 2005. It 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.[16]

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.[17][18] Siemens remained on the project as the subcontractor with the main responsibility for constructing the turbine hall.

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.[19]


main milestones of the project and other surrounding events[18][20][21]
date event
Dec. 2000 TVO applies to the Finnish cabinet for a decision-in-principle on the new unit[22]
17 Jan. 2002 decision-in-principle by the Finnish cabinet
24 May 2002 the Finnish parliament approves the decision-in-principle
8 Jan. 2004 TVO submits construction application to the Finnish cabinet
17 Feb. 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
Jan. 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
Sep. 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[23]
Nov. 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 [24]
February 2014 Areva shutting down construction due to dispute over compensations and unfinished automation planning. Operation estimated to be delayed until 2018–2020.[25]
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.[26]

Construction delays

The first license application for the third unit was made in December 2000[27] and the date of the unit's entry into service was estimated to be 2010.[28] 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][29] 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."[30] 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.[25]

The delays have been due to various problems with planning, supervision, and workmanship,[5] and have been the subject of an inquiry by

  • Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland
  • , R3123-A2, July 2005 Reactor at Olkiluoto 3, Finland – Review of the Finnish Radiation Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) AssessmentEuropean Pressurised Reactor at Olkiluoto 3, Finland – Brief Interim Review of the Porosity and Durability Properties of the In Situ Cast Concrete at the Olkiluoto EPR Construction
  • , R3123-A2, July 2005Reactor at Olkiluoto 3, Finland – Review of the Finnish Radiation Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) Assessment
  • Status of Nuclear Power in Finland.

External links

  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".  
  3. ^ a b c "Areva Again Raises Estimate of Cost of Olkiluoto Reactor".  
  4. ^ Kinnunen, Terhi (2010-07-01). "Finnish parliament agrees plans for two reactors".  
  5. ^ a b c d "Olkiluoto 3 delayed beyond 2014".  
  6. ^ a b c "Finland's Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant delayed again".  
  7. ^ a b "Stubb: Nuclear reactor project still possible despite cabinet rejection".  
  8. ^ Finland and Russia deepen energy ties Financial Times December 2, 2014
  9. ^ "Finland, Republic of: Nuclear Power Reactors". Power Reactor Information System.  
  10. ^ "Nuclear power plant units Olkiluoto 1 and Olkiluoto 2" (PDF).  
  11. ^ a b "TVO 1".  
  12. ^ a b "TVO 2".  
  13. ^ "2011 sees record outage at Olkiluoto 2".  
  14. ^ Nuclear Power in a Post-Fukushima World The world nuclear industry status report 2010–2011 World Watch, page 60.
  15. ^ Chronology of Olkiluoto 3 Project
  16. ^ "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 
  17. ^ "Siemens to give up nuclear joint venture with Areva".  
  18. ^ a b "Siemens quits the nuclear game".  
  19. ^ "OL3 - koko Suomen projekti". Power Reactor Information System.  
  20. ^ A timeline published by Areva
  21. ^ A timeline published by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy
  22. ^ "Licensing of Olkiluoto 3".  
  23. ^ "Lauvergeon Leaves Areva on ‘Good’ Track-Record, Besson Says".  
  24. ^ "TVO prepares for further Olkiluoto 3 delay". World Nuclear News. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  25. ^ a b Paula Nikula (28 February 2014). "Areva ajaa Olkiluodon työmaata alas" (in Suomi). Kauppalehti. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  26. ^ "Olkiluoto 3 startup pushed back to 2018". World Nuclear News. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  27. ^ STUK: Licensing of Olkiluoto 3: Preliminary safety assessment on the application for a fifth nuclear power plant [4]
  28. ^ "Chronology of Olkiluoto 3 project".  
  29. ^ a b c Boxell, James (16 July 2012). "Areva's atomic reactor faces further delays".  
  30. ^ "Finnish EPR passes integrity tests". World Nuclear News. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  31. ^ a b c "Olkiluoto pipe welding 'deficient', says regulator".  
  32. ^ a b Jones, Meirion (25 November 2009). "New UK nuclear stations unlikely to be ready on time".  
  33. ^ "Areva-Siemens to cut staff at Olkiluoto 3 site -TVO".  
  34. ^ "Olkiluoto-kiista kovenee: Areva nosti korvausvaatimuksensa 2,6 miljardiin".  
  35. ^ "Claim for Olkiluoto 3 delays explodes to 2.7 billion".  
  36. ^ The Myth of the European "Nuclear Renaissance"
  37. ^ Leaked Olkiluoto letter Nuclear Engineering International, 11 May 2009.
  38. ^ Finnish plant demonstrates nuclear power industry's perennial problems
  39. ^ "TVO: Arevalta vaadittu suomalaisten sopimusten noudattamista".  
  40. ^ "Paper: Workers at Olkiluoto forced to pay protection money to mafia".  
  41. ^ a b "Environmental study for Olkiluoto 4".  
  42. ^ Kinnunen, Terhi (1 July 2010). "Finnish parliament agrees plans for two reactors".  
  43. ^ [5]
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ ([6] Yle news 14.4.2014

Notes and references

See also

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 diminished the plants output down to 300 MW, but was not serious and was to be repaired in a day.[46]


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.[44] Another use is a pond for growing crabs, whitefish and sturgeon for caviar.[45]


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.

Onkalo pilot repository cave.

Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository

In May 2015 Finland canceled plans for the Olkiluoto 4 reactor because of delays and problems with the first EPR Olkiluoto 3.[43]

In September 2014, with unit 3 still unfinished, the Finnish government refused to extend TVO's permit for its Olkiluoto 4th reactor, giving a permit to 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]

On 14 February 2008, TVO submitted an environmental impact assessment of unit four to the Ministry of Employment and Economy.[41] On 21 April 2010, the government of Finland decided to grant a permit to Teollisuuden Voima for construction of the fourth reactor in Olkiluoto. The decision was approved by the parliament on 1 July 2010.[42] If constructed, the fourth unit would be a PWR or a BWR with a power output of 1,000 to 1,800 MW.[41]

Unit 4

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.[39][40]

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.[32]

The project has also been criticized by STUK because "instructions have not been observed in the welding of pipes and the supervision of welding."[31] STUK has also noted that there have been delays in submitting proper paperwork.[37][38]

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."[36]


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

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,[29] 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.[34] In December 2013, Areva increased its demand to €2.7 billion.[35]


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.[29]

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.[33]

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.[32]


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