An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Operational Safety Review Team (Osart) mission said on 16 March that  Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), the operator of Finland’s Olkiluoto NPP, had shown a strong commitment to safety but further improvements could be achieved given plans to expand the facility.

Following a 17-day mission to assess operational safety at the plant’s two 880MWe boiling water reactors, IAEA said TVO should evaluate the effectiveness of recent organisational changes and improve maintenance practices to ensure equipment deficiencies are resolved “in a timely manner”.

The team said TVO should ensure that adequate resources and expertise are available to secure the safe operation of the plant beyond its original design life. It praised TVO’s ability to perform comprehensive probabilistic safety assessments to estimate risks and use the results to improve plant safety. The team noted TVO’s active participation with other Nordic countries to share experiences in nuclear plant operation, and extensive support provided by the plant to research institutions on studies related to the management of potential severe accidents.

The new EPR unit (Olkiluoto-3) and used fuel final repository under construction at the site were not part of the review. The two Olkiluoto units began commercial operation in 1979 and 1982.

The 16-member Osart team comprised experts from Bulgaria, China, France, Germany, Hungary, South Africa, Sweden, and the USA, as well as four IAEA officials. The plant management and the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority will have an opportunity to make factual comments on the draft report, which will be reviewed by the IAEA. The final report will be submitted to the Finnish Government within three months. Finland is planning to host Osart missions over the next year at Olkiluoto 3 and the two units at Loviisa. 

Photo: The Olkiluoto nuclear site