New Finnish nuclear reactor ready for launch in 2019

Following years of delay, it looks like the new Finnish nuclear reactor – Olkiluoto 3 – will be ready to start production by May 2019.

The planned Finnish Olkiluoto 3-reactor, with an installed capacity of 1600 MW, has been delayed for almost 10 years. Several problems with construction, safety and massive budget overruns have turned the new reactor in to a horrible case for both the Finnish nuclear operators and for the engineers in charge of building the reactor. Now however, it appears as if the reactor will finally be ready for launch in May 2019.

The latest obstacle in the long-lasting process was a court matter between the Finnish nuclear operator, TVO, and the engineers behind the reactor, Areva-Siemens. The legal dispute was based on disagreements as to who should pay for the massive budget overruns, which have been the result of the repeated delays of the project. The dispute did however end Sunday, when the parties agreed on a deal, which sees Area-Siemens paying TVO 450 million euro as compensation, and also includes a deal that both parties drop all legal action related to the project.

With the legal matters now out of the way, it looks like it will finally be possible for the Finns to get the reactor started. The agreement on financial compensation from Areva-Siemens means, that TVO now has the financial strength to complete the reactor and start it up by May 2019. TVO estimates, that the total costs of the reactor will be 5.5 billion euro. The original plan was started with a budget of 3.2 billion euro.

When Olkiluoto 3 is launched, it is expected to have a massive impact on the Finnish power market. Finland is currently very dependent on import of electricity from especially Sweden and Norway, to cover demand. This import should however decrease, when the new reactor becomes a part of the market. The expected capacity of 1600 MW will make Olkiluoto 3 the Nordic reactor, with the highest capacity. This title currently belongs to the Oskarshamn 3-reactor in Sweden, which has an installed capacity of 1400 MW.