Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant

Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant
Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant

Olkiluoto island with two existing nuclear power plants. Operation of the third unit is currently scheduled to start in 2014. (Image manipulated)
Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant is located in Finland
Location of Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant
Country Finland
Location Eurajoki
Coordinates 61°14′13″N 21°26′27″E / 61.23694°N 21.44083°E / 61.23694; 21.44083Coordinates: 61°14′13″N 21°26′27″E / 61.23694°N 21.44083°E / 61.23694; 21.44083
Status Operational
Construction began 1973
Commission date 10 October 1979
Owner(s) Teollisuuden Voima Oy
Reactor information
Reactors operational 2×860 MW
Reactors under construction 1×1,600 MW
Reactors planned 1×1,000–1,800 MW
Reactor supplier(s) ASEA-Atom (units 1 and 2)
Areva (unit 3)
Turbine manufacturer(s) Stal-Laval (units 1 and 2)
Siemens (unit 3)
Power generation information
Installed capacity 1,720 MW
Annual generation 14,268 GW·h
Net generation 323,760 GW·h
As of 24 October 2010

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 operated by Teollisuuden Voima, a subsidiary of Pohjolan Voima.

The Olkiluoto plant consists of two Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) with 860 MWe each. Unit 3, the first EPR (European Pressurized water Reactor) is 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] A license for a fourth reactor to be built at the site was granted by the Finnish parliament in July 2010.[2]


Units 1 and 2

Units 1 and 2 consists of two BWRs with 860 MW each.[3] These were supplied by 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. Reactor pressure vessels were constructed by Uddcomb Sweden AB, and reactor internal parts, mechanical components by Finnatom. Electrical equipment was supplied by Oy Strömberg Ab.[4] Unit 1 was constructed by Atomirakennus and unit 2 by Jukola and Työyhtymä.[5][6] Unit 1 achieved its initial criticality in July 1978 and it started commercial operations in October 1979.[5] Unit 2 achieved its initial criticality in October 1979 and it started commercial operations in July 1982.[6]

Unit 3

Olkiluoto-3 in 2009.

The first license application for the third reactor (EPR) was made in December 2000[7] and the original commissioning date of the third reactor was set to May 2009.[8] However, in May 2009 the plant was "at least three and a half years behind schedule and more than 50 percent over-budget".[9][10][11] The commissioning deadline has been postponed several times and as of November 2011 operation is set to start in 2014.[12]

The reactor pressure vessel was installed on 21 June 2010.[13]

The project was started by Areva NP, a joint venture of AREVA and Siemens, but Siemens withdrew and sold its share to AREVA.[14] Work began on the Olkiluoto EPR in 2005, but various problems with workmanship have created delays:

First to come to light were irregularities in foundation concrete, which caused work to slow on site for months. Later it was found that subcontractors had provided heavy forgings that were not up to project standards and which had to be re-cast. An apparent problem constructing the reactor's unique double-containment structure has also caused delays.[1]

According to Professor Stephen Thomas, "Olkiluoto has become an example of all that can go wrong in economic terms with new reactors".[9] Areva and the utility involved "are in bitter dispute over who will bear the cost overruns and there is a real risk now that the utility will default".[9] The project has also been criticized by the Finnish nuclear safety regulator, STUK, because "instructions have not been observed in the welding of pipes and the supervision of welding."[1] STUK has also noted that there have been delays in submitting proper paperwork.[15][16][17][18] Olkiluoto 3 was supposed to be the first "third generation" reactor which would pave the way for a new wave of identical reactors - safe, affordable, and delivered on time - across Europe. The delays and cost overruns have had knock-on effects in other countries.[19]

Yleisradio quotes an anonymous Polish labourer who was alledgedly paid 1.5 € per hour in Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant construction project in Finland. This is below the minimum wage by law and the national agreements of the construction industry.[20]

Unit 4

On 14 February 2008, Teollisuuden Voima submitted an environmental impact assessment of the unit four to the Ministry of Employment and Economy.[21] 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.[2] If constructed, the fourth unit would be a PWR or BWR with a power output of 1,000 to 1,800 MWe.[21]

Onkalo waste repository

Schematic of the geologic repository research tunnel under construction at the Onkalo site near Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant, Finland.

After the Finnish Nuclear Energy Act[22] was amended in 1994 to specify that all nuclear waste produced in Finland must be disposed of in Finland, Olkiluoto was selected in 2000 as the site for a (very) long-term underground storage facility for Finland's spent nuclear fuel.

The facility, named "Onkalo" ("cave" or "cavity")[23] is being built in the granite bedrock a few miles from the Olkiluoto power plants. The municipality of Eurajoki issued a building permit for the facility in August 2003 and excavation began in 2004.[24]

The plans for the facility consist of four phases:[citation needed]

  • Phase 1 (2004–09) will focus on excavation of the large access tunnel to the facility, spiraling downward to a depth of 420 metres (1,380 ft).
  • Phase 2 (2009–11) will continue the excavation to a final depth of 520 metres (1,710 ft). The characteristics of the bedrock will be studied in order to adapt the layout of the repository.
    • Around 2012, Posiva Oy, the agency responsible for the facility's construction, plans to submit an application for a license to construct the repository and any adaptations it requires. This is expected to take up to three years.[citation needed]
  • Phase 3, the construction of the repository, is expected to begin about 2015.
  • Phase 4, the encapsulation and burial of areas filled with spent fuel, is projected to begin in 2020.

The Onkalo repository is expected to be large enough to accept canisters of spent fuel for around one hundred years, i.e. until around 2120.[25] At this point, the final encapsulation and burial will take place and the access tunnel backfilled and sealed.

Danish director Michael Madsen has co-written and directed a feature-length documentary Into Eternity where the initial phase of the excavation is featured and experts interviewed. The director's special emphasis is on the semantic difficulties in meaningfully marking the depository as dangerous for people in the distant future.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c "Olkiluoto pipe welding 'deficient', says regulator". World Nuclear News. 2009-10-16. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Olkiluoto_pipe_welding_deficient_says_regulator-1610095.html. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  2. ^ a b Kinnunen, Terhi (2010-07-01). "Finnish parliament agrees plans for two reactors". Reuters. http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKLDE6600ED. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  3. ^ "Finland, Republic of: Nuclear Power Reactors". Power Reactor Information System. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). http://www.iaea.org/cgi-bin/db.page.pl/pris.powrea.htm?country=FI&sort=&sortlong=Alphabetic. Retrieved 2010-10-30. 
  4. ^ "Nuclear power plant units Olkiluoto 1 and Olkiluoto 2" (PDF). TVO. http://www.tvo.fi/uploads/File/nuclear-power-plant-units.pdf. Retrieved 2011-03-13. 
  5. ^ a b "TVO 1". International Nuclear Safety Center. http://www.insc.anl.gov/cgi-bin/sql_interface?view=rx_com_matrix&qvar=unit&qval=57. Retrieved 2011-03-13. 
  6. ^ a b "TVO 2". International Nuclear Safety Center. http://www.insc.anl.gov/cgi-bin/sql_interface?view=rx_com_matrix&qvar=unit&qval=58. Retrieved 2011-03-13. 
  7. ^ STUK: Licensing of Olkiluoto 3: Preliminary safety assessment on the application for a fifth nuclear power plant [1]
  8. ^ TVO: Reactor supplier seeks arbitration over Olkiluoto-3 delay Platts Dec 31, 2008
  9. ^ a b c The Myth of the European "Nuclear Renaissance"
  10. ^ James Kanter. In Finland, Nuclear Renaissance Runs Into Trouble The New York Times, May 29, 2009.
  11. ^ Robin Pagnamenta. Landmark nuclear reactor will be three years late Times Online, April 2, 2009.
  12. ^ Olkiluodon viivästyksistä haettu jättikorvauksia, TVO joutui taas kertomaan Olkiluodon 3. voimalan myöhästymisestä HS 13.10.2011 A7
  13. ^ "Reactor vessel in place at Olkiluoto 3". World Nuclear News. 2010-06-21. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN_Reactor_vessel_in_place_at_Olkiluoto_3_2106101.html. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
  14. ^ "Helsingin Sanomat - International Edition - Business & Finance". Hs.fi. http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Siemens+to+give+up+nuclear+joint+venture+with+Areva/1135243067027. Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  15. ^ Leaked Olkiluoto letter Nuclear Engineering International, 11 May 2009.
  16. ^ Finnish plant demonstrates nuclear power industry's perennial problems
  17. ^ Backup for the censored article "Finnish plant demonstrates nuclear power industry's perennial problems"
  18. ^ The Nuclear Illusion p. 8.
  19. ^ 'New UK nuclear stations unlikely to be ready on time' BBC Meirion Jones[2]
  20. ^ Olkiluodon sähköasentaja: Sain 1,5 euron tuntipalkkaa Yleisradio 23.9.2011
  21. ^ a b "Environmental study for Olkiluoto 4". World Nuclear News. 2008-02-15. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN/Environmental_study_for_Olkiluoto_4_150208.html. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  22. ^ "Nuclear Energy Act (990/1987) (in English)" (PDF). Finlex. http://www.finlex.fi/en/laki/kaannokset/1987/en19870990.pdf. 
  23. ^ Räisänen, Alpo (2010). "Onkamo and other place names". Virittäjä (Helsinki: Society for the Study of Finnish) 4/2010 (114). http://www.kotikielenseura.fi/virittaja/hakemistot/jutut/raisanen4_2010.html. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  24. ^ Finnish Energy Industries, "Nuclear Waste Management in Finland"; accessed 2 October 2009; http://www.energia.fi/en/publications/nuclear%20waste.pdf
  25. ^ "Into Eternity". Intoeternitythemovie.com. http://www.intoeternitythemovie.com/. Retrieved 2011-05-15. 

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