Olkiluoto-3 Faces Year-Long Start-Up

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Olkiluoto-3, Europe's first-of-a-kind EPR, is now slated to start regular electricity production into the Finnish grid in December, a full year after it reached first criticality on Dec. 21, 2021. Owner TVO had at that time projected regular electricity production — the final milestone in the commissioning process — for June 2022, but in the months since technical issues have repeatedly pushed the schedule back. The latest delay came after a May inspection found "foreign material" in the turbine’s steam reheater, apparently "detached from the steam guide plates," requiring "inspection and repair work," TVO said in a Jun. 15 statement. "According to investigations from the plant supplier, the repair work will last until the end of July." Only after can the test ramp up of the EPR continue, TVO explained, and given "previous experiences" it is now budgeting additional time for the subsequent testing period. It's not yet clear what this means financially, either for TVO or for the Olkiluoto-3 supplier consortium of France's Areva SA and Germany's Siemens. TVO emphasized that the consortium "is obliged to complete the plant" in accordance with both the initial plant contract — from nearly two decades ago — and from a 2018 settlement that attempted to resolve previous delay-related disputes between TVO and the supplier consortium.

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