Country profile: Finland

Summary figures for 2013

The following information is from the NEA publication Nuclear Energy Data, the annual compilation of official statistics and country reports on nuclear energy in OECD member countries.

Country
Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid
Nuclear electricity generation
(net TWh) 2013
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
Finland
4
22.6
33.1
 
OECD Europe
133
833.1
23.7
 
Total
325
1 883.2
18.6
 

Country report

The Finnish public limited company Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) owns and operates two nuclear power plant units, Olkiluoto 1 (OL1) and Olkiluoto 2 (OL2), and is building a new unit, Olkiluoto 3 (OL3), at Olkiluoto in Eurajoki, Finland.

In February 2005, TVO was granted a construction licence for the Olkiluoto 3 pressurised water reactor (type EPR, European pressurised water reactor) that will have a thermal output of 4 300 MW and an electric output of about 1 600 MW. Construction of the unit started in the summer of 2005 and by the end of 2013 civil construction works were completed to a large extent. Cladding works of the buildings’ exterior walls continue. The major components of the reactor plant, such as the reactor pressure vessel, pressuriser and four steam generators, have been installed. Welding of the primary coolant circuit pipeline was also completed, as was installation of the fuel handling equipment and other components. Pipeline welding and pressure tests continued. Commissioning of the power distribution in the reactor turbine plant is ongoing. However, planning, documentation and licensing of the reactor’s automation system are not yet completed.

Based on the progress reports received from the supplier, TVO announced in February 2014 that it could not provide an estimated start-up date for the OL3 nuclear power plant unit. Only once the plant supplier has finalised and clarified its schedule, can information be disclosed regarding the start-up date of electricity production. The supplier is constructing the reactor under the terms of a fixed-price, turn-key contract and is responsible for establishing the schedule. Originally, commercial electricity production at the unit was scheduled to start in 2009.

In July 2007, Fortum Power and Heat Oy (Fortum) received a 20-year operating licence for the 2 Loviisa pressurised water reactors that have been in operation since 1977 and 1980. Fortum is expecting that both units will have at least a 50-year operational lifetime, extending their service life until the 2030 timeframe. In June 2007, a new company, Fennovoima Oy, initiated a nuclear new build project. This company was created by a consortium of industrial and energy companies (with the German company E.ON holding a 34% share) with the aim of constructing a new NPP in Finland that could be operational by 2020.

According to the climate and energy strategy adopted by Finland, nuclear power is an option, but the initiatives must come from industry. As stipulated in the Nuclear Energy Act, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) process must be completed before an application for a decision-in-principle (DIP) can be submitted to the government. The TVO and Fortum EIA processes (co-ordinated by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, or MEE) were completed in 2008, followed by the Fennovoima EIA process in 2009.

TVO filed its DIP application for the construction of Olkiluoto 4 in April 2008, and Fortum, for Loviisa 3, in February 2009. Fennovoima, who filed its DIP application in January 2009, listed two candidate sites, Simo and Pyhäjoki, as per the request of the MEE, that are willing to host Fennovoima´s plant. The national nuclear regulator (Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority – STUK) found both of these greenfield sites suitable for a nuclear power plant. Posiva Oy, the organisation created by TVO and Fortum to manage spent fuel disposal, also filed DIP applications for enlargement of the ONKALO final repository to accommodate spent fuel from the proposed new reactors (Olkiluoto 4 and Loviisa 3). The MEE processed all five DIP applications during 2009-2010 and the government made its decisions in May 2010. All applications fulfilled all the safety and environmental requirements. As specified by the Nuclear Energy Act, decisions on all DIPs were based on the projects’ overall good for society, projected national energy needs in 2020 and the limit of two new nuclear power plants at this time. The Olkiluoto 4 and Fennovoima new build projects received positive DIPs as did Posiva for its repository enlargement project for spent fuel from Olkiluoto 4. Loviisa 3 was issued a negative DIP, as was Posiva’s proposal to further expand ONKALO to accommodate spent fuel from Loviisa 3.

Positive DIPs were issued for the two utilities (TVO and Fennovoima) that intend to produce cost price electricity for the needs of the Finnish industries that funded these new build projects. The government also took into account Fortum’s stake (about 25%) in TVO when making the DIP decisions. The positive DIPs for TVO´s Olkiluoto 4 and for Fennovoima were ratified by parliament on 1 July 2010, as was Posiva’s application for Olkiluoto 4 spent fuel. TVO’s Olkiluoto 4 nuclear power unit project was in the bidding phase in early 2014 and the MEE expects the construction licence applications to be sent to the government in the summer of 2015.

In February 2013, E.ON sold its 34% stake in Fennovoima to the Finnish majority owner Voimaosakeyhtiö SF.
In December 2013, Fennovoima signed a turn-key contract with Rosatom Overseas to build a VVER reactor (AES-2006 type) at the Hanhikivi plant, in Pyhäjoki. At the same time, Fennovoima signed an integrated fuel supply contract with TVEL to cover the first nine operating years and an agreement to sell 34% of Fennovoima’s shares to Rosatom Overseas. Project contracts will formally enter into force after shareholders of Voimaosakeyhtiö SF have made a final investment decision. Because Rosatom was not mentioned as an alternative in Fennovoima’s original DIP application, Fennovoima started a new EIA in autumn 2013. Fennovoima has also provided STUK with a safety evaluation of the AES-2006 plant, which will allow the regulator to complete a safety assessment. In March 2014, it also applied a supplement to the DIP that could result in a positive DIP in the summer of 2014, which could then be ratified by Parliament in late 2014.

In 2004, Posiva Oy started construction of the ONKALO underground laboratory (rock characterisation facility) for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel generated by the owners of the Olkiluoto and Loviisa plants (TVO and Fortum, respectively). The ONKALO laboratory is also intended to be a part of the final repository. By the end of 2012, excavations at ONKALO had reached the final depth of 420 m and the length of more than 4 km. In December 2012, Posiva applied to the government for a construction licence for the final disposal facility of spent fuel (the encapsulation plant and underground repository). The construction of the final disposal facility is expected to commence in 2015, with disposal operations planned to start soon after 2020.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2014

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Last reviewed: 19 December 2014