Opening Of Areva’s Nuclear Power Plant In Finland Delayed Yet Again — A Decade Of Delays & Counting

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The beginning of operations at Areva’s Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in Finland has been delayed yet again, 5 more months this time, pushing the expected opening back to May 2019.

This means that the troubled nuclear enemy project has now experienced around a decade’s worth of delays — which have been accompanied by a huge increase in estimated project costs, and also by various legal disputes.

Nuclear energy proponents that want to know why so many of us here at CleanTechnica have such skepticism about the technology need look no further than the Olkiluoto 3 project.

The announcement of further delays, made by owner Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), means that those wanting to use the project as an example of the continuing expansion of nuclear energy infrastructure will now have to wait even longer.

The project, being built by a consortium headed by the France-based state-owned nuclear group Areva, was originally slated to begin operations in 2009.

TVO project director Jouni Silvennoinen commented on the news: “We are very disappointed by this additional delay. There is still substantial work to be accomplished in the project.”

Reuters provides more: “An Areva spokesman said the reactor would produce its first power at the end of 2018, but the ramp-up to full production would delay the commercial start-up to May 2019.”

“He said hot-testing would start in December 2017, nuclear fuel would be loaded in August 2018, first grid connection would be in December 2018 and the commercial start would be May 2019.”

That’s presuming, of course, that further delays don’t arrive before then.

Continuing: “Last month, TVO filed an appeal to the European Commission over France’s restructuring of its nuclear industry, saying Areva, which is selling its nuclear reactor business to utility EDF, could be unable to meet its liabilities in Finland.”

“The parties are locked in a dispute over the delays at the International Chamber of Commerce, where TVO is claiming €2.6 billion from the Areva-led consortium, which has filed a counter-claim of €3.6 billion. Areva has a 73% stake in the consortium and Germany’s Siemens 27%. The final ruling is expected early next year, and TVO last year said it was optimistic following favorable partial awards.”

The original estimated project costs for the Olkiluoto 3 project were €3.2 billion, but Areva has not updated its project costs estimates since 2012 so it’s not clear where that stands now, but as of 2012 it was at €8.5 billion.

Once completed, the project is expected to provide for around 10% of Finland’s electricity needs.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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