Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 will start operations in 2018, 13 years after work began on the first-of-a-kind EPR, the Areva-Siemens consortium building the plant has informed client Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO).
According to Areva, the consortium’s updated schedule foresees the completion of construction and start of commissioning in mid-2016, with operations following in 2018. These dates, the consortium says, are dependent on the cooperation of TVO, whose role will become increasingly important during the commissioning phase. One example of that role would be in facilitating the necessary reviews by the Finnish nuclear regulator, STUK.
In a statement, TVO senior vice president for the Olkiluoto 3 project Jouni Silvennoinen reaffirmed the company’s commitment to support to the plant supplier to enable the project to be completed as swiftly and efficiently as possible. However, he expressed some surprise at the suggested timescale, which puts operation back two years from the possible 2016 startup it had previously been allowing for. “It is hard for us to accept such a late start-up forecast given by the supplier because the completion degree is high, the completed works fulfill very high technical standards and we know what the remaining works are,” Silvennoinen said, adding that the company would now evaluate the data it had received from the Areva-Siemens consortium.
Since construction began in 2005, the Olkiluoto 3 project has suffered various delays which have seen its projected startup date put back several times from the original 2009 target. Areva’s most recent estimate of its losses at completion of the turnkey project stand at €3.9 billion ($5.1 billion), but the company says it does not expect the updated schedule to have an impact on that amount.
The most recent delays to the plant’s schedule have centred on the reactor instrumentation and control (I&C) system, which gained approval from STUK in April after four years of what Areva described as “exchanges” between the constructor and TVO. The Areva-Siemens consortium is currently seeking compensation from TVO engaged in an arbitration procedure concerning the responsibility for project delays.