Construction of the Finnish EPR, Olkiluoto 3 (OL3), has hit another milestone with the installation of the reactor pressure vessel. The steel component weighing 420 tons, and measuring 5.3m in diameter and 10.6m in height was installed using the permanent polar crane and a large movable crane.


Credit: TVO/Hannu Huovila

The OL3 reactor pressure vessel is lifted into place on 18 June

The remaining heavy components (four steam generators and the pressurizer) are due to for installation before the end of 2010, with the first SG to be lifted into the reactor building this summer.

The reactor pressure vessel was transported from its storage hangar, to just outside the reactor containment, and then lifted into the reactor building before its final vertical introduction into the reactor pit.

The most visible construction operation in progress at the moment is the concreting of the inner dome part of the reactor building. A thin layer of concrete has already been poured on top of the steel liner, and a second thicker layer of concrete is due to be poured during the summer, according to TVO.

Total manpower on the Olkiluoto 3 site was 3900 on 18 June, and the share of workers was strongly on the increase, TVO said.

Areva and Siemens, which are building OL3 on a turnkey basis, have informed TVO that fuel loading will begin at the end of 2012. This means that commercial operation will begin in 2013, says TVO.

In late 2008 the Areva-Siemens consortium initiated arbitration proceedings over the delays and related costs surrounding the project. In January 2009 it said that it would complete the project in June 2012.

“TVO continues to cooperate with the supplier to support efficient and smooth progress of component installation and preparations for plant commissioning,” said TVO CEO Jarmo Tanhua in June. “We will not, however, compromise any safety or quality requirements.”

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