Commissioning of unit 3 at Finland’s Olkiluoto NPP (OL3), has been pushed back to March 2021 by suppliers France’s Areva and Germany’s Siemens, plant operator TVO said on 19 December. According to the information received by TVO, nuclear fuel will be loaded into the OL3 EPR unit reactor in June 2020, the first connection to the grid will take place in November 2020, and the start of regular electricity production will take place in March 2021.
According to the commissioning programme, the unit will produce 1-3TWh with varying power levels during testing, which will begin with grid connection and end with the beginning of regular electricity production. Regular electricity production was previously planned to start in September 2020. The Areva-Siemens consortium said OL3 will be further delayed because of slow progression of system tests and shortcomings in spare part deliveries. Among other things in the tests of auxiliary diesel generators some faulty components were found. The delivery time of compensatory spare parts is months. The plant supplier said final verification of the mechanical, electrical and the I&C systems has to be done carefully and with high quality.
“Because of numerous delays we have to do maintenance to equipment and components already installed to ensure fluent start-up and continuous operation. The manufacturing and deliveries of the spare parts take time, but according to this new schedule we are able to take the greatest climate act in Finland to production, said Jouni Silvennoinen, TVO's Director of the OL3 EPR Project.
TVO said the plant is being built under a fixed-price turnkey contract. The supplier consortium companies have joint and several liability for the contractual obligations until the end of the guarantee period of the plant unit. According to the 2018 Global Settlement Agreement the supplier consortium is committed to ensure the adequacy of the funding reserved to finalise the OL3 EPR project as well as all warranty periods. For this purpose a fund mechanism financed by Areva Companies was established to cover all the costs.
According to the previous schedule provided to TVO in July, the supplier said nuclear fuel was to be loaded into the reactor in January 2020, the first connection to the grid to take place in April, and the start of regular electricity production was to take place in July. In November, the Areva-Siemens consortium admitted the project was running six weeks behind schedule and said it would provide an updated schedule in December. Construction of Olkiluoto 3 began in 2005, with completion originally scheduled for 2009, but the project delays and setbacks mean it is now more than 10 years behind schedule and vastly over budget.