OL4 construction approval extension denied

26 September 2014

Finland's government has denied an extension request by electricity utility conglomerate Teollisuuden Voima to extend the expiration deadline of a government decision-in-principle on the OL4 nuclear reactor unit.

According to the decision-in-principle that the company received in 2010 it is required to submit an application for a construction license for its installation by 30 June 2015. The decision-in-principle expires if this does not happen, the government said.

In the spring TVO delivered an application to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy to supplement the decision-in-principle that it was given in 2010. In the application the company asked the Government to set a new deadline for applying for a construction license for the Olkiluoto 4 nuclear reactor unit. According to TVO the delay of the OL4 project resulted from the fact that the Olkiluoto 3 reactor unit had not been brought into electricity production as had been planned, the government said.

The government said that "the existing decision-in-principle has a significant impact on the functioning of the electricity market and on competition in the field. In the view of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, one player in the field cannot retain possession of a decision-in-principle about a project with a deadline of over five years in whose progress significant uncertainties are involved."

TVO's president and CEO expressed his disappointment with the decision. " We had valid reasons to apply extension for the OL4 decision-in-principle and we do not understand why our application was rejected at this phase of political proceeding."

He also said, "We have worked on with the project for a long time, since year 2006, and our Finnish shareholders have invested nearly 100 million Euros to it. I am baffled that it seems to be so difficult to make a major industrial investment in Finland."

TVO spokesman Pasi Tuohimaa said the company is now considering its options. "The situation is simple. We applied for extra time, we didn't get it, now we need to reconsider what we shall do. OL4 is not buried, but we wanted the extra time because we couldn't start it until Olkiluoto 3 is done, because it is not possible to hold two huge and really expensive proejcts at the same time." He added: "Nothing has really changed, just Olkiluoto 3 is late."

Picture: Olkiluoto site, with (1) Olkiluto 1, (2) Olkiluoto 2, (3) Olkiluoto 3, (4) Olkiluoto 4, (6) interim storage for spent nuclear fuel, (7) underground repository for geological disposal, (8) power lines, and (9) emergency power plant: gas turbine

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