Country profile: Finland

Summary figures for 2012

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.

Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid
Nuclear electricity generation
(net TWh) 2012
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
OECD Europe
1 884.0

Country report

The Finnish public limited company Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) was granted a construction licence for the Olkiluoto 3 pressurised water reactor (type EPR, European pressurised water reactor) in February 2005. The reactor's thermal output will be 4 300 MW and electric output about 1 600 MW.

Construction of the plant unit started in the summer of 2005 and by the end of 2012 civil construction works were completed to a large extent. Major components of the reactor, such as the reactor pressure vessel, pressuriser and four steam generators, have been installed and primary coolant circuit pipeline welding works completed, as was installation of the fuel handling equipment and other components. Pressure tests continued and commissioning of the power distribution and process systems in the reactor turbine plant was initiated. However, documentation and licensing of the reactor's automation system has
not yet been completed.

In June 2012, TVO estimated that the Olkiluoto 3 reactor will not be ready for regular electricity production in 2014, based on the information submitted by the Areva-Siemens consortium. The supplier is constructing the reactor under the terms of a fixed-price, turn-key contract and is responsible for the time
schedule. Originally, commercial electricity production at the unit was scheduled to start in 2009.

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 nuclear power plant in Finland that could be operational by 2020.

In July 2007, Fortum Power and Heat Oy (Fortum) received 20-year operating licences for the two Loviisa PWRs 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.

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 and the Fennovoima process in 2009.

TVO filed its DIP application for the construction of Olkiluoto 4 in April 2008, Fortum for Loviisa 3 in February 2009 and Fennovoima in January 2009. Fennovoima's listed candidate sites, Simo and Pyhäjoki, stated in 2009 as per the request of MEE that they are willing to host Fennovoima's plant. The national nuclear regulator (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 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 to the two utilities (TVO and Fennovoima) that intend to produce cost price electricity for the needs of the Finnish industries funding 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. Fennovoima chose the municipality of Pyhäjoki as the preferred site in October 2011, announcing that the unit will be named Hanhikivi 1 (also FH-1), referring to the name of the peninsula where the unit is to be located. In July 2011, Fennovoima invited bids for the power plant from Areva and Toshiba and the bids were received in January 2012. The main contracts are expected to be finalised later (so the units are not "firmly committed" yet according to the OECD/NEA criteria). In October 2012, E.ON announced that it intended to sell its 34% stake in Fennovoima, prompting a restructuring of the partnership. The stake was sold in February 2013 to the Finnish majority owner Voimaosakeyhtiö SF. In March 2013, Fennovoima announced that it will go on direct negotiations with Toshiba and Rosatom and it will choose the plant supplier from these alternatives.

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 (TVO and Fortum) of the Olkiluoto and Loviisa plants. 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 meters and the length of more than four kilometres. Posiva applied for a construction licence in December 2012. The construction of the final disposal facility is expected to commence in 2014 with disposal operations planned to start soon after 2020.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2013

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Last reviewed: 10 December 2013