Latest delay sees Finnish nuclear plant to go decade behind schedule

The Olkiluoto-3 nuclear power plant in Finland is now set to go a full ten years behind schedule after news emerged of another delay.

Western Europe’s newest nuclear power plant for 15 years is now scheduled to start production in May 2019, rather than the end of 2018, as previously designated
Olkiluoto-3 nuclear power plant
A high-profile French-backed nuclear power plant in Finland has been delayed yet again, meaning it is likely to start production more than a decade late. Western Europe’s first new nuclear power station for 15 years will now start production in May 2019 rather than at the end of 2018 as previously announced, according to the owner-operator TVO.

The Finnish project has been regularly beset by delays and huge cost over-runs. Olkiluoto-3 was originally meant to start production in spring 2009 and cost €3.2bn but the last price estimate was almost three times as high.

“We are very disappointed by this additional delay,”à‚ Jouni Silvennoinen,à‚ TVO’s senior vice president for the Olkiluoto-3 project, said in a statement. “There is still substantial work to be accomplished.”

Finland is seeking to reduce reliance on its neighbours for power and the vulnerability of being too dependent on other nations. More than 10 percent of Finland’s power demand was met with Russian imports until 2011 when its eastern neighbour unexpectedly put a tariff on exports at times of peak demand, which cut flows by more than half.

Olkiluoto-3 was billedà‚ by Areva and Siemensà‚ (NYSE:à‚ SI) as a showcase for next-generation EPR-reactor technology when construction started in 2005.à‚ The project’s initial 3 billion-euro ($3.5 billion) cost has swelled to more than 8 billion euros.

Theà‚ latest delay is for adjustments based on information from a similar reactor being built in China, as well as a more cautious assessment of how quickly the unit will reach full production, an Areva spokesman said by phone.à‚ Fuel loading is scheduled for August 2018 and the first connection to the grid is in the following December.

The project has been plagued by setbacks. The Finnish project’s parties are suing each other over the delays.à‚ TVO won part of its case against Areva-Siemens in July at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. A final arbitration decision is expected early next year.

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