Olkiluoto 3 1,600MW Nuclear Power Plant, Finland

Key Data
Signing of Contract
December 2003
Building Permit Issued
January 2005
Start of Operation
Planned for 2012
Thermal Power
Around 4,300MW
Electrical Power Around
Plant Type
EPR (Evolutionary Power Reactor) Nuclear

Construction of the Finnish Olkiluoto 3 1,600MWe nuclear power plant reached a milestone on 22 June 2010 after installing the reactor pressure vessel in the reactor building. This marked the beginning of the installation activities of nuclear components coinciding with the start-up testing of electro-mechanical systems.The project has been delayed by three years and is now expected to be operational by the end of 2012, resulting in a loss of $2.8bn.

Areva, the project owner, has blamed TVO for the delay in validation and completion of the technical document, which was required to be produced before the Finnish nuclear safety authority.

Steam generators and pressurisers, which are the heavy components of the reactor, are scheduled to be installed by the end of 2010.

EPR pressurised water reactor

The EPR is the direct descendant of Areva’s N4 and KONVOI reactors. The pressurised water in the primary system is used as a moderator to slow down the neutrons, allowing a nuclear reaction to occur in the core, and transfer the heat generated during the reaction to the steam generators.

“The EPR is the direct descendant of Areva’s N4 and KONVOI reactors.”

The EPR has four steam generators – one for each of the four heat removal loops making up the primary system. Steam generators are heat exchangers. They receive heat from the nuclear reactor on their primary side, and deliver heat to the non-nuclear part of the facility on their secondary side.

There is a leak-tight separation between primary and secondary sides. The secondary heat produces steam to power the turbine which generates electricity.

The turbine building houses the equipment that transforms the steam produced into electricity: the turbine, the alternator and the transformer, which is connected to the grid. During a power blackout, diesel generators housed in two separate buildings supply electricity to the safety functions.

Redundant safety systems

The reactor containment building has two walls: an inner pre-stressed concrete housing internally covered with a metallic liner, and an outer reinforced concrete shell, both 1.3m thick. The outer shell covers the reactor building, the spent fuel building and two of the four safeguard buildings (the other two safeguard buildings are in a different location).

The containment building houses the reactor coolant system, made up of the reactor vessel, steam generators, pressuriser, and reactor coolant pumps. Inside the containment there is an area where any of the molten core escaping from the reactor vessel during a core meltdown would be collected, retained and cooled.

The major safety system consists of four sub-systems or “trains”. Each train is capable of performing the entire safety function independently. There is one train in each of the four safeguard buildings, separated from each other by the reactor building to prevent simultaneous common-mode failure of the trains.

The control room is in one of the safeguard buildings, protected by the outer shell. The computerised control room allows operators full control over all parameters important for plant operation.

Projected service life is 60 years, compared with a 40-year service life for other power reactors.

Olkiluoto 3 contractors

A consortium formed by Areva and Siemens signed the contract for the turnkey construction with TVO. Areva is supplying the nuclear island, the Digital Control System and the first fuel core, and civil works. It is also supplying parts of balance of plant comprising access building, waste building and an EPR simulator. As leader of the consortium, Areva is coordinating the overall project, including functional and technical integration of the complete plant.

Siemens PG built the turbine island and will be supplying the turbine generator set. That includes engineering and design, procurement and delivery of electro-mechanical equipment, turbo-generator protection and control system, civil works, erection and commissioning.

The civil construction and erection work has already been subcontracted. A large part of construction contract (47%) was awarded to companies in Finland directly, but companies from abroad often engage Finnish sub-suppliers, too. TVO is responsible for the overall project management and licensing process with the Finnish Safety Authority STUK.

“Projected service life is 60 years, compared with a 40-year service life for other power reactors.”

In October 2006, the EC launched a formal investigation on the French government’s €570m loan guarantee for Olkiluoto-3, asking whether it broke EU rules on state aid. In December 2006, Areva reportedly took a charge of €500m for extra costs because work on the reactor was 18 months behind schedule. Areva remarked in response that it was the first reactor of its kind.

Around 600 people work at the site, with up to 3,000 during peak times.

Finnish power market

Nuclear power is the largest source of energy in Finland, with total production of 2,700MW which accounted for 29% of the energy produced in 2009. As of 2010, apart from Olkiluoto 3, three more plants are being assessed – Olkiluoto 4, Loviisa 3 and Fennovoima. The proposed reactors are expected to add 3,500MW to 6,100MW to the country.

The country’s internal natural resources are limited, while the consumption per inhabitant is high (15,600kWh), and has grown at an annual rate of over 7% in 2010 compared with the first quarter of the previous year. Nearly 70% of the energy used must be imported. This major constraint threatens the country’s energy independence and economic balance.

Finland used 84.9 billion kWh of electricity in 2005, and demand has been growing faster than that in the other Nordic countries. In the last 10 years, consumption has increased by an average of 2.6% a year, and is expected to reach 94.2TWh in 2010 and 103.3TWh in 2020.

Industry is the largest consumer of electricity because Finland has a large energy-intensive industry, and increased production raised the industrial power demand by 3.8%. In 2005, Finnish industries used about 52% of all electricity.

As of 2009, Finland met 15% of its electricity consumption through imports. The remaininder was produced by nuclear power (28%), hydro power (16%), coal (13%), natural gas (11%), peat (5%) and renewable energy (10%).

The future

TVO submitted an environmental impact study for unit four to the Ministry of Employment and Economy on 14 February 2008. It received permission from the Finnish Government for the construction of the fourth unit on 21 April 2010 and is awaiting approval of the project by the Parliament.

The fourth unit is expected to produce 1,000 to 1,800MWe upon completion.

Finnish Olkiluoto 3Expand Image Expand Image
Construction of the Finnish Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant has been delayed again.

Finnish electricityExpand Image Expand Image
Finnish electricity consumption in 2005, amounting to a total of 87.9TWh.

Finnish Electricity SupplyExpand Image Expand Image
Finnish electricity Supply in 2005. Demand in the country is rising faster than in other Nordic countries.

Finland's nuclear powerExpand Image Expand Image
Nuclear power is Finland’s major source of energy.

Olkiluoto Water ReactorExpand Image Expand Image
Olkiluoto 3 is a 1600MWe large-power pressurised water reactor.

Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactorExpand Image Expand Image
Olkiluoto 3 is the fifth Finnish nuclear reactor.

Nuclear reactorExpand Image Expand Image
Each of the main safety systems for the reactor building (2) has four identical sub-systems (1).

EPR reactor buildingExpand Image Expand Image
3D mock up of the EPR reactor building.

Third-Generation Reactor Expand Image Expand Image
The EPR is the only third-generation reactor now being

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