Finnish company Fennovoima said on 28 April that it had submitted to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy an update to the application for a construction licence for the Hanhikivi-1 NPP. The Hanhikivi-1 project provides for the construction in Pyhajoki of a single-unit nuclear power plant based on a Russian-design VVER-1200 generation 3+ reactor. The project is currently at the stage of licensing and preparatory work is underway at the NPP construction site. A construction licence had been expected in 2021.
Fennovoima said the update does not change the scope of the project. “The rationale for the project is unchanged, and the scope of it will not be affected by the update. The power plant project will be implemented on the Hanhikivi peninsula in Pyhäjoki, as described in the original application,” Joachim Specht, CEO of Fennovoima, said.
During the last two years, the design and licensing work for the Hanhikivi 1 project has progressed well, said Fennovoima. However, bringing the design and licensing material to the level of Finnish requirements, including the regulatory review times, has taken slightly longer than expected. In the update, Fennovoima estimates that it could obtain the construction licence by summer 2022 and that construction of the power plant would begin in the summer 2023. Commercial operation of the plant would begin in 2029 instead of 2028.
Fennovoima also revised the total investment costs of the project. Instead of the previously announced €6.5-7 billion ($7.7-8.5bn), the estimated total cost is currently €7-7.5 billion. As the plant supply contract with RAOS Project Oy is a fixed-priced contract, the excess additional costs are due to expenses from Fennovoima’s own operations, and in particular, expenses from the Fennovoima organisation.
“At this stage, it is essential for both us and the plant supplier to prepare for the future phases of the project, both for the construction and the commissioning of the power plant. Based on the design material, we know that we will have a good nuclear power plant that can be built on the Hanhikivi peninsula, meeting the strict Finnish requirements,” Specht noted.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will attach the update as part of the original permit application. The Ministry will prepare the construction licence in accordance with the Nuclear Energy Act for decision by the Government, provided that the future safety assessment of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority is positive, and all other conditions required by law are met.