Finnish power utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) said on 28 August that it had received an updated schedule from the plant supplier Areva-Siemens consortium for the commissioning of the EPR at unit 3 of the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant (OL3).

Under the new schedule, fuel will be loaded into the reactor in March 2021, the plant unit will be connected to the national electricity grid in October 2021 and regular electricity generation will start in February 2022. This represents a delay of 11 months compared with previous plans.

TVO said the project schedule has been delayed by "slow-moving system tests, technical problems identified in the tests, and an increase in the number of maintenance tasks due to project delays." The lack of necessary spare parts has also taken time.

“The technical problems that have arisen at the plant unit have now been resolved and repair work is currently underway. TVO said. The technical problems were related to the equipment of the seawater system, cracks detected in the mechanical control valves of the pressuriser safety valves, faulty components of the backup power diesels and a vibration problem with the pressuriser connection line. Damaged cable insulation has also been found in certain automation cabinets and will be repaired during the autumn.

TVO said work on the site has continued with special arrangements despite the corona pandemic, “and we are now preparing for refuelling at OL3, which is a big and important step for us”. The remaining system tests, maintenance work and technical fault rectification work will be completed before charging.

The project will now be completed by around 1500 nuclear experts and the remaining work is scheduled in detail. Of the approximately 3000 commissioning tests, only a few dozen remain, said Jouni Silvennoinen from TVO, the director of the OL3 project .

Areva's new management, appointed in the summer of 2020, is preparing a financial solution to complete the project by the end of the warranty period. TVO will continue negotiations with the Areva-Siemens consortium on the terms of completing the project.

The OL3 plant supplier consortium will build the plant unit with a fixed price turnkey contract. “The consortium of plant suppliers includes AREVA GmbH, AREVA NP SAS and Siemens AG, which are jointly and severally liable for the obligations under the plant supply contract until the end of the plant unit's warranty period.”

Construction of Olkiluoto 3 began in 2005, with completion originally scheduled for 2009, but the project delays and setbacks mean it is now more than ten years behind schedule and vastly over budget.