Finnish energy company Fennovoima said on 21 December that it had conditionally accepted the documents for the Basic Design Stage 1 of the Hanhikivi-1 NPP provided by plant supplier, Russia’s RAOS Project (part of Rosatom).
This part of the basic design, which was accepted at the beginning of December, is a basis for the Preliminary Safety Report (PSAR), which will be submitted to the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).
"This is a significant achievement for the project. The review of Stage 1 began in the summer of 2019, and during these 18 months, we have been able to review most of the basic design,” said Janne Liuko, Fennovoima's Utility Operations Director.
“Most importantly, we have been able to close a significant number of issues related to nuclear safety. Challenges still remain - designing an automation architecture that is not yet complete. Based on the preliminary data we have seen so far, I strongly believe that the plant supplier will be able to complete the basic design of the compliant architecture in the Stage 2."
He noted: “Before submitting documents to STUK regulator, we carry out our own review and safety assessment of the project. As a responsible company-owner and future operator of the NPP, we consider independent, independent verification necessary at all stages."
Ivan Doschuk, Engineering Director of Hanhikivi 1 at RAOS Project, noted: “Basic Design of Stage 1 is the bulk of the documentation describing the technical solutions of the project, and this year it was handed over to the customer, reviewed and preliminarily accepted. Most of the important design issues have been resolved at this stage. In the next few months of 2021, we will continue to work on a number of details."
He added: "Our common task is to settle all the technical details of the project at the “paper stage” in order to minimise or completely eliminate the need for rework directly at the construction stage. In addition to the high level of detail of the documents, the project had to be submitted fully digitised, therefore, the package of documents handed over to the Customer included a 3D model and an information model of the projected NPP."
In 2019, the basic design review was divided into two stages. In the first stage, the safety and capacity factor of the plant are reviewed. In the second review stage, issues related to design integrity and plant operation are reviewed. Conditional acceptance of Stage 1 means that the design meets the criteria for this stage but some issues must be clarified before final approval.
The Basic Design Stage 1 will be reviewed in its entirety when the remaining PSAR documents are received from the plant supplier for review during spring 2021. At the same time, Fennovoima will continue to submit licensing material for approval to STUK and continue discussions on the plant's safety solutions. The review of Basic Design Stage 2 is also scheduled to begin in the spring.
Fennovoima said it had submitted five batches of documents related to the construction licence to STUK, the most recent of which was submitted at the beginning of October. The next batch of documents is due for submission by the end of 2020. In total, the PSAR, which is the most important part of the licence application, includes 15 batches.
"This has been a challenging year for everyone. Nevertheless, the project has made significant progress during 2020,” said Fennovoima CEO Joachim Specht. “Next year we will strongly focus on construction preparation and readiness so that everything will be ready, when construction starts."
The Hanhikivi 1 project is gradually moving from the design phase to the construction phase and supply chain readiness plays a crucial role.
“All companies involved in the project must be able to implement the plans and monitor their implementation,” said Fennovoima.
During 2020 the development of the safety culture and contractor management of main contractor Titan-2 was closely monitored. “We found that the company has improved its safety culture and contractor management and in December, we decided to extend Titan-2’s approval as the main contractor for two years.”
The approvals of subcontractors to the supply chain of the Hanhikivi 1 project are always fixed-term. Typically, approvals are given for 3-5 years at a time. However, for safety-classified subcontractors, the limit is usually three years or less if there is a need for specific monitoring in a particular area.
An essential part of Fennovoima's preparations for the construction phase has been building an administrative building on the Hanhikivi peninsula. During the late autumn, Lehto Tilat completed the administration building's excavation work and began the foundation work. Dredging work under the jetty and the construction of a temporary dam continued on the site. The rock blasts in the cooling water channel continued until the winter break that began in October. Of the supporting buildings, work continued at the reinforcement workshop and the surface treatment plant. In the storage area rising behind the accommodation village, the erection of steel frames for the halls began.
Fennovoima said construction of the administrative building and the work for which the plant supplier is responsible have increased the site's daily workforce to more than 350. The number has grown throughout the year, even though the majority of office workers have worked remotely due to the COVID-19 restrictions. More than 550 people have successfully passed Fennovoima's site access training throughout the year, in which employees are introduced to working at the Hanhikivi 1 site and the site's safety practices. According to an opinion poll completed in December, 74.2% of Pyhäjoki residents support the construction of Hanhikivi 1. Support has been over 70% for the past three years, Fennovoima noted.
Photo: Proposed Hanhikivi nuclear power plant (Credit: Fennovoima)