The Finnish government has granted a new operating licence for both units at Fortum’s Loviisa NPP until the end of 2050. “Continuing production at Loviisa is above all an investment in providing the power Finnish society needs to meet its ambitious climate targets,” said Fortum’s President & CEO Markus Rauramo. “Decarbonisation of our industries requires large volumes of clean and reliable electricity that cannot be covered by new additional and intermittent sources only. At the same time, nuclear… is also a key enabler for growth of wind and solar in the Nordic power system.”
Over the past five years, Fortum has already invested approximately €300m to refurbish Loviisa NPP. When applying for the new licence in March 2022, Fortum estimated that investments related to continuing operations and lifetime extension of the plant would amount to approximately €1bn by 2050.
“Public acceptability of nuclear power is high in our core markets, Finland and Sweden, and we are pleased to have excellent relations with the city of Loviisa and the surrounding communities,” Rauramo noted. “In parallel with the life-time extension, we are carrying out a thorough assessment of the economic viability of building new nuclear in Finland and/or Sweden. The feasibility study, to be completed next year, focuses on the technical, economic and societal preconditions that must be in place for Fortum to consider such a new large and long-term investment.”
The government's decision came after a Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) statement of the lifetime extension in January. STUK stated that operations Loviisa 1&2 were safe, and in accordance with the law, and had the required capabilities, procedures, competence and resources to continue safe operations until 2050.
Fortum has also applied for a licence to use the low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste final disposal repository located at the Loviisa site until 2090. This licence process is ongoing at the Ministry of Economic Affairs & Employment (MEAE) and the government make a decision in the spring. Used fuel from the Loviisa plant will be disposed of at the Posiva nuclear final disposal repository, jointly owned by Fortum and Teollisuuden Voima (TVO).
Loviisa was the first NPP in Finland. The power plant has two Soviet-supplied VVER-440 unitsthat began operation in 1977 and 1980. The operating licences for the units were renewed in 1998 and 2007. The current licences must be renewed by the end of 2027 and 2030. In 2018, the plant completed the largest modernisation programme in its history, which included the full renewal of the plant automation system.
Image: Loviisa nuclear power plant (courtesy of Fortum)