A good year for Loviisa NPP

4 January 2023

Finland’s Loviisa NPP had “a good production year in 2022”, according to owner/operator Fortum. The two-unit NPP generated a total of 7.9 TWh avoiding 6m tonnes of CO2 emissions. The load factor for the plant, at 89.4%, was among the best in the world for pressurised water reactors (PWRs), the company said.?Loviisa 1’s load factor was 90.5%, and Loviisa 2’s was 88.2%. 

Loviisa 1&2 are 520MWe Soviet-designed VVER-440 PWRs Loviisa 1 began commercial operation in 1977 and Loviisa 2 in 1981.The operating licences for the units were renewed in 1998 and 2007 and Fortum has applied to the Ministry of Economic Affairs & Employment to operate both until the end of 2050. Their current licences expire at the end of 2027 and 2030, respectively.

In 2022, Loviisa 2 underwent the extensive 36-day four-yearly outage which lasted five days longer than planned. The refuelling outage at unit 1 lasted 29 days and was delayed by about a week. Loviisa NPP Vice President Sasu Valkamo said the annual outages were challenging, but all the modification and repair works were completed. “The main reason for the delay with unit 1 was due to a leak in the main reactor coolant pump’s sealing water line, detected during a leak test,” he said. “The most significant reason for the delay with unit 2 was the replacement of a main reactor coolant pump, which had failed during the start-up phase, with a serviced pump.”  

Loviisa NPP currently uses Russian supplied fuel delivered by Rosatom’s Tvel, and this is set to continue for several more years according to the current contract which is valid until the expiration of the current licences in 2027 and 2030. Despite European pressure to diversify away from dependence on Russian fuel, Fortum has indicated that a quick change is not possible. At present no other company makes fuel for Soviet-designed VVER-440s, although US Westinghouse is working on developing it. Westinghouse has developed fuel for the larger Russian-designed VVER-1000 reactors and Fortum in November signed an agreement with Westinghouse for the design, licensing and supply of a new type of fuel for Loviisa.

Image: Loviisa Nuclear Power Plant (courtesy of Fortum)

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