After repeated delays, the commissioning of the EPR reactor at unit 3 of Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear plant is now running six weeks behind its latest schedule. Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj said on 8 November that the Areva-Siemens consortium which is constructing the unit had presented a revised schedule for the start-up of the plant.
Areva-Siemens told TVO the final verification of the mechanical, electrical and the instrumentation and control (I&C) systems has to be done carefully and to a high standard. In an updated schedule provided to TVO in July, the supplier said nuclear fuel was to be loaded into the reactor in January 2020, grid connection to take place in April 2020, with the start of regular electricity production in July 2020.
"Although the completion of the plant will be further delayed, we are very close to reaching the fuel loading phase and start-up of the OL3 EPR unit," said Jouni Silvennoinen, TVO's director for the project. TVO is currently preparing for the loading of fuel, he added. 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.
Photo: Olkiluoto nuclear site, with unit 3 on the left (Credit: TVO)