Delays announced for Finland’s Hanhikivi NPP

2 January 2019

Construction of Finland’s Hanhikivi 1 NPP to be built with Russian assistance in Pyhäjoki is to be delayed by four years, project owner Fennovoima announced on 21 December. The Hanhikivi 1 plant was first approved for construction by the Finnish parliament in 2010. However, the completion date has been pushed back and is now slated to begin in 2028.

Fennovoima signed a plant supply contract for Hanhikivi 1 with Rusatom Overseas – Rosatom's subsidiary concerned with nuclear power plant exports – in December 2013. Rosatom has offered to build a plant using a 1200MWe AES-2006 VVER under a fixed-price contract. The Hanhikivi project, which is expected to cost €6.5-7 billion ($7.5-8 billion), is owned by Fennovoima. RAOS Voima Oy, the Finnish subsidiary set up in 2014 by Rosatom to buy a share in the company, holds a 34% stake in Fennovoima.

Russia's Titan-2 is the main contractor for the Hanhikivi project. The consortium also includes Finnish power company Fortum and stainless steel maker Outokumpu, among other companies.

Fennovoima submitted a 250-page construction licence application to Finland's Ministry of Employment and the Economy in June 2015 and began excavation work at the Hanhikivi site in January 2016. It had initially anticipated receiving the construction licence for Hanhikivi 1 in 2018, with operation starting in 2024. However, in September 2017 the company announced that it did not expect to receive the permission until 2019 as the review of documentation related to its application was taking longer than initially envisaged. Fennovoima now expects to receive a construction licence in 2021.

Rosatom has attributed the delay to concerns expressed by the  Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) over safety requirements.  

The construction licence application sets out details of the plant location, the reactor type, the primary safety systems, nuclear waste management, financing of the project and Fennovoima's organisation. Fennovoima said it is in the process of supplying Stuk with the design documentation for assessment. It noted the plant supplier is responsible for the preparation of the design documentation needed for the construction licence and its delivery to Fennovoima.

Fennovoima said it has begun working with the RAOS Project to develop an overall project schedule "based on the received information". This process is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2019.

Photo: Impression of the Hanhikivi plant (Source: Fennovoima)

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