The 1.6GW Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor began producing power Wednesday, 18 years after construction began and €8 billion over budget.
OL3 is Europe’s largest nuclear reactor. Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), the unit’s owner, stated that the unit would be able to produce around 14% of Finland’s electricity needs, with Olkiluoto station, now with three reactors, delivering 30%.
“This is a historic day,” said Marjo Mustonen, TVO’s senior vice president for power generation. “The benefits that we promised OL3 would bring to Finnish society have been realized.” “I am very proud of all of the nuclear professionals who worked on this project.”
According to TVO, the OL3 project employed up to 4,500 people from more than 80 nations. The nuclear test production phase had 3,300 tests and almost 9,000 test reports. The project had a huge economic influence on the region, particularly in the Satakunta region.
The 1.6GW unit was Framatome’s first European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), a third-generation pressurised water design. A collaboration led by French engineer Areva and German firm Siemens oversaw construction.
Work began in August 2005, with an initial completion date of 2009.
The project was constantly pushed back. The causes were listed as follows by Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in 2010:
- Given that the reactor was the first of its kind, the schedule was unduly ambitious.
- Inadequate completion of design and engineering work prior to construction beginning;
- a scarcity of skilled designers;
- Parties’ lack of experience managing a huge building project;
- There is a global scarcity of qualified equipment producers.
OL3 began supplying energy to Finland’s grid in March of last year, with regular output predicted four months later, but instead experienced a series of malfunctions and outages.
In May, foreign debris separated from the steam guide plates found its way into the turbine’s steam reheater.
There are now five nuclear reactors in Finland, three in Olkiluoto and two in Loviisa.