In Finland, the first new nuclear reactor in 40 years began to supply electricity. It is also the first new European reactor in 15 years. The other two reactors at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant, in Eurajoki in southwestern Finland, date from the 1970s and 1980s.
The reactor was already commissioned in December, and now Olkiluoto 3 is also connected to the national power grid. Production will be gradually increased until the maximum capacity of 1,600 megawatts is reached in July. At that time, the reactor could provide 14 percent of Finland’s electricity needs.
Nuclear power plants are the main method of electricity production in Finland. Moreover, 25-30 percent of electricity comes from abroad, mainly from Sweden, but also for a significant part of Russia.
With the opening of Olkiluoto 3, Finland will become less dependent on foreign countries. According to the Finnish Nuclear Association TVO, owner of the plant, Finland’s energy imports could be halved by 2025.
Setbacks and cost overruns
The construction of the new nuclear power plant was very difficult. The project was approved in 2002. Construction began in 2005 and the nuclear power plant was supposed to open in 2009. However, many technical problems arose during construction, which meant that completion had to be repeatedly postponed.
TVO and supplier Areva sued each other for cost overruns. France’s Areva will build the plant with Germany’s Siemens for 3 billion euros. In the end, the costs were estimated at 11 billion euros. In 2018, TVO and Areva reached a settlement.
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