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Finland warns of power outage risk over nuclear plant startup delay – Olkiluoto 3 reactor unreliable?

HELSINKI, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Finland faces a greater risk of power outages in coming months because of another delay in starting up the new Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor, national grid operator Fingrid said on Friday.

Fingrid and the state energy authority have told citizens and companies to prepare for possible blackouts, particularly if OL3 does not prove reliable, as countries across Europe seek to curb energy usage, grappling with reduced Russian gas and other energy supplies because of the Ukraine war………………………………

In October, the operator said cracks were found in the OL3 reactor’s four feedwater pumps after test production, further delaying startup originally planned to be in 2009.

Test production has been postponed until Dec. 25 at the earliest, from Dec. 11, TVO said, while full production will begin on Feb. 6 at the earliest compared with Jan. 22.

“The investigation into the damage in Olkiluoto 3’s feedwater pumps has proceeded into its final stages. Once the investigation is complete, a decision will be made on the startup of the plant unit,” TVO said in a statement.

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December 9, 2022 Posted by | Finland, safety | Leave a comment

If Finland joins NATO, it needs a new nuclear weapons policy

Bulletin, By Robin ForsbergAku KähkönenJason Moyer | December 8, 2022

As an aspiring NATO member, Finland must update its nuclear weapons policy. Nuclear weapons are an important pillar of the defensive alliance, which has the official position that for as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will inherently be a nuclear alliance.

…………… After filing its membership application in May 2022, Finland is now in the midst of its NATO accession process, with only Turkey and Hungary’s approval remaining. In its application, Finland is not seeking any exemptions to its membership and is committing to the alliance fully. This has initiated discussions about its upcoming policy on nuclear weapons.

………………. By applying for full NATO membership without any explicit restrictions, Finland allows itself the opportunity to chart its own decisions on nuclear weapons. But there is one caveat: Under Finland’s current national legislation nuclear weapons are illegal.

……….. By joining NATO, Finland will be allied with countries that have nuclear arsenals—and are prepared to use them if deemed necessary. This aligns with the creed of the alliance: Nuclear weapons are a core component of NATO’s deterrence. This will be the new security reality facing Finland the day it joins the nuclear alliance. Yet, it has not been sufficiently debated what becoming a NATO member will mean for Finland’s approach to nuclear weapons. In part, this is due to interest in both Finland and NATO for a speedy and uncomplicated accession. But there is also a tradition of not debating national strategic security policies in public fora due to the Finns’ high trust in their national authorities. A healthy national debate, however, is needed to improve the understanding of nuclear weapons policies among the Finnish population and their potential impact on Finland’s security.

………… Finland has a history of a strong non-nuclear proliferation policy. In 1968, it was the first country to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and has ever since shown strong support for multilateral non-proliferation and conventional disarmament treaties. But this dogmatism has somewhat wavered in recent years, even before Russia invaded Ukraine.

,……………….. Finland chose to abstain from supporting the treaty [United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW0]…… Experts theorized at the time that Finland abstained from voting not to jeopardize its prospects of joining NATO.

……….. Discussing Finland’s revised nuclear weapons policy is important not to jeopardize the ethics of Finland’s continuous and long-standing support of disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. The debate should also be reflective of the people’s willingness to take part in NATO’s nuclear weapons exercises, activities, or planning.

…… As Finland becomes a party to a nuclear alliance, it must begin the process of updating its nuclear weapons policy. https://thebulletin.org/2022/12/if-finland-joins-nato-it-needs-a-new-nuclear-weapons-policy/

December 7, 2022 Posted by | Finland, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Finland’s Fortum turns to U.S. in bid to replace Russian nuclear fuel

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/finlands-fortum-turns-us-bid-replace-russian-nuclear-fuel-2022-11-22/ HELSINKI, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Finnish power company Fortum (FORTUM.HE) on Tuesday said it was planning to begin buying nuclear fuel from U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric.

Fortum began looking to replace Russian fuel, which it has been using solely since 2008, last March as a response to Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

“The new and parallel fuel supplier will diversify our fuel strategy, improve security of supply and ensure reliable electricity production,” head of Loviisa power plant Sasu Valkamo said.

Fortum has applied for a licence to run its two plants in Finland until 2050, while the current fuel-supply agreements with TVEL, a subsidiary of Russian state-owned power company Rosatom, will run until 2027 and 2030, it said.

“A tendering process will be arranged for fuel supply for the new operating licence period,” the company said.

Fortum has also put its Russian assets up for sale.

November 22, 2022 Posted by | Finland, Uranium | Leave a comment

Electricity production at Olkiluoto 3 reactor delayed until 2023.

Full-scale electricity production at Olkiluoto 3 reactor delayed until
2023. An investigation into damage to the reactor’s feedwater pumps will
take a number of weeks, with a knock on effect on the schedule for the
beginning of regular electricity production.

Finland’s newest nuclear reactor will remain offline longer than expected, announced its owner on
Monday, pushing back much-needed relief for electricity consumers. Nuclear
power utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) has announced that an investigation
into damage at the much-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor’s feedwater
pumps will continue for a number of weeks.

In a press statement, TVO said
that as a result of the ongoing investigation, the schedule for when
regular electricity production will begin at the reactor cannot currently
be estimated.

 YLE News 22nd Nov 2022

https://yle.fi/a/3-12679800

November 22, 2022 Posted by | Finland, safety | Leave a comment

Finland refutes nuclear weapons ‘siting’ and reinforces border

Defense News, By Gerard O’Dwyer, 18 Nov 22,

HELSINKI — Finland has refuted any possibility that the currently unaligned Nordic state will consider hosting nuclear weapons on its territory once a member nation of NATO.

The rebuttal comes as Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s government presented new proposals to reinforce the country’s 830 mile (1,340 km) border with Russia.

Underlining the need to retain “good neighbor relations” with Russia, Sauli Niinistö, Finland’s president and commander-in-chief of the Finnish Armed Forces (FAF), said that siting nuclear weapons on its territory was never intimated or discussed as a pre-condition for Finnish membership in the alliance.

“Finland has no intention of allowing nuclear weapons to be located on its territory. There are no indicators that any NATO-nation is offering nuclear arms to Finland,” Niinistö said……………………………………….

The Finnish government has allocated $1.7 billion to the military for defense materiel procurements in 2023. This represents a $800 million increase compared to the defense equipment procurement budget for 2022. https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2022/11/18/finland-refutes-nuclear-weapons-siting-and-reinforces-border/

November 18, 2022 Posted by | Finland, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 repairs could take several months – expert

CARL-EMIL WICKSTRÖM, Helsinki, 10 Nov 2022, (Montel) Fixing the cracked feedwater pumps at Finnish nuclear reactor Olkiluoto 3 (1.6 GW) could take several months if the parts need to be manufactured, nuclear expert Juhani Hyvarinen told Montel on Thursday………………

The manufacturing of new impellers would take at least a few months. But changing them does not take long, a few days or maximum a few weeks, including testing.”

The Olkiluoto 3 reactor has been in test production since March but was stopped last month after cracks were found in feedwater pump impellers.

Operator TVO is investigating the issue but has not yet provided estimates of how long the repairs will take or details on part replacements……………………………………….

Risk of further issues?
The reactor’s launch is 13 years beyond schedule already and so the turbine had been idle since being installed over a decade ago.

The risk of further complications remained until the project was complete, said Hyvarinen.

“So far, the common denominator with the issues has been that the turbine facility is a prototype, it is not exactly like the ones used in Germany for decades,” he said…………..

However, the issue may be how the reactor was run, he said, pointing to the frequent ramp ups and down during the commissioning phase.

“Ramping up and down”
“The pumps are not really designed for that and the manufacturer might not have considered there would be so much ramping up and down,” Hyvarinen said.

“The initial problems were on the reactor’s side before moving to the turbine, he noted. “There is a wave of issues from inside of the facility towards the outside”, indicating that if any new issues arose, they would likely be linked to electrical equipment such as generators, he added. https://www.montelnews.com/news/1365685/ol3-repairs-could-take-several-months–expert

November 11, 2022 Posted by | Finland, safety | Leave a comment

Finland to continue relying on Russia for nuclear fuel

Fortum set to rely on Russian nuclear fuel until 2030, Reuters, 09 NOVEMBER 2022,

THE USE of Russian nuclear fuel is set to continue for at least a few more years at the Loviisa Nuclear Power Plant operated by Fortum, report STT and YLE.

The Finnish majority state-owned energy company has for the past roughly 15 year fuelled the nuclear power plant with uranium acquired from TVEL, a subsidiary of Russian state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom.

Matti Kattainen, the director of nuclear power at Fortum, stated to STT that the company is operating in line with its supplier contract, declining to speculate on whether and when it could stop the use of Russian fuel. The company has previously stated that it will invite bids from supplier candidates once its operating licences, as well as the current supplier contract, come up for renewal in 2027 and 2030……………

Fortum in March submitted an application for a licence to continue operating the plant until 2050.

Juhani Hyvärinen, a professor of nuclear technology at LUT University, viewed that Fortum is in a difficult position due to the relatively low number of potential suppliers. He added on a general level that the company would likely require a year or two after signing a supplier contract to take the first delivery.

Russian nuclear fuel has accounted for roughly 20–30 per cent of the global market, he estimated in an interview with YLE. The European Commission has reported that Soviet or Russian-made reactors that are fully reliant on Russian fuel remain in use in five countries across the EU: Bulgaria, Czechia, Finland, Hungary and Slovakia.

Hyvärinen stated to both news outlets that there are no insurmountable technical obstacles to replacing the fuel. The Loviisa Nuclear Power Plant, for example, previously ran on fuel from British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL)……

Nuclear fuel is presently not on the sanctions list of the European Union. The possibility of bringing it within the scope of sanctions has reportedly been discussed, but the likelihood of doing so in the midst of the energy crisis appears low. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs told YLE that adding nuclear fuel to the list would require a unanimous decision by the 27-country bloc but declined to comment on the discussions.

Also Hyvärinen refrained from commenting on what he said is a political decision……….

Use of Russia nuclear fuel became a topic of discussion in Finland on Saturday, following the emergence of news reports about police officers overseeing the loading of what turned out to be Russian nuclear fuel onto an aircraft bound for Bratislava, Slovakia, at Lappeenranta Airport………. https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/cop27-nuclear-power-industry-vies-role-decarbonizing-planet-2022-11-09/

November 9, 2022 Posted by | Finland, Uranium | Leave a comment

Finland denies plans to deploy nuclear weapons in the country once it joins NATO

Daniel Stewart, 8 Nov 22. Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto has assured on Monday that Helsinki has no plans to allow the deployment of nuclear weapons on its territory once it joins NATO’s ranks, amid tensions over the war in Ukraine…………………..

he has applauded the efforts of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to maintain a dialogue with Moscow. “This is solely aimed at stopping the killing. I think it is a worthwhile goal,” he concluded. https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/finland-denies-plans-to-deploy-nuclear-weapons-in-the-country-once-it-joins-nato/ar-AA13PjsO

November 7, 2022 Posted by | Finland, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Finland hints at allowing NATO to station nuclear weapons (?targets) on its soil

 https://euroweeklynews.com/2022/10/31/finland-hints-at-allowing-nato-to-station-nuclear-weapons-on-its-soil/ By Chris King • 31 October 2022 ,

The Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, hinted that nuclear weapons could be deployed on Finnish soil should the country’s application to join NATO be approved.

It was recently reported by a newspaper in Helsinki that nuclear weapons could soon be stationed on Finland’s border with Russia if the country’s bid to join NATO is approved. Should it come to that, it is bound to anger Moscow.

Nuclear missiles launched from the Finnish border would take far less than a minute to reach Moscow. That is a very short warning period. It is certain that the Kremlin will not like this at all, but it could soon become reality. 

The reason: Finland – together with Sweden – submitted an application to join NATO in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to the Helsinki newspaper Iltalehti, the draft accession law, as submitted by the Finnish government to Parliament, does not include an exemption for nuclear weapons

Finnish Foreign and Defence Ministers Pekka Haavisto and Antti Kaikkonen both pledged to NATO in July that they would not seek ‘restrictions or national reservations’ if Helsinki’s proposal goes through. This was reported by various defence sources to exxpress.at.

Foreign policy insiders said that NATO nuclear weapons could be moved through Finnish territory or stationed there. In addition, there are no restrictions on establishing NATO bases in the country.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told Finnish broadcaster Yle on Saturday 29: “I think it’s very important that we don’t set any preconditions or limit our own room for manoeuvre when it comes to permanent bases or nuclear weapons”. It is thought highly unlikely though that nuclear weapons would be stationed on Finnish soil.

According to the Federation of American Scientists, the US already has around 100 nuclear weapons in Europe. They are located in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. Britain and France, both NATO members, also maintain their own independent nuclear arsenals.

Earlier this month, the Polish government said it had held talks with Washington about hosting US nuclear weapons, but the Americans have not confirmed this. Polish President Andrzej Duda said there was a ‘potential opportunity’ for his country to engage in ‘nuclear sharing’.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Finland and Sweden’s applications for membership in May, calling the move a ‘historic moment’ for the alliance.

November 1, 2022 Posted by | Finland, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Criminals in Finland obtain weapons from Ukraine – police

Arms supplied to Kiev have also allegedly been found in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands

https://www.rt.com/news/565616-finland-ukraine-weapons-gangs/ 30 Oct 22,

Criminals in Finland have got hold of some of the weapons that were sent to Ukraine by its Western backers amid the conflict with Russia, the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has said.

“We’ve seen signs of these weapons already finding their way to Finland,” NBI detective superintendent Christer Ahlgren told the news outlet Yle on Sunday.   

Assault rifles were among the weaponry, Ahlgren said, but declined to provide further details, as the investigation is still ongoing. 

Arms trafficking routes from Ukraine to Finland have already been set up, according to the investigator.

“Three of the world’s largest motorcycle gangs — that are part of larger international organizations — are active in Finland. One of these is Bandidos MC, which has a unit in every major Ukrainian city,” he said.

“Criminal organizations have their networks in Finnish commercial ports,”  Ahlgren pointed out, adding that security checks that are mandatory for airport staff do not apply to port workers.

Finland is not the only EU country with such problems, as “weapons shipped to Ukraine have also been found in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands,” he said. 

“Ukraine has received a large volume of weapons and that’s good, but we’re going to be dealing with these arms for decades and pay the price here,” Ahlgren pointed out.

As early as May, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stressed the need for accountability for American arms supplied to Ukraine. Back then, Austin said he had discussed the issue with the Kiev authorities, who gave assurances on accountability.

In June, the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol warned that the Ukraine conflict could lead to a spike in arms and ammo being smuggled into the bloc.

Around the same time, an investigation by RT Russian revealed that various weapons supplied to Kiev by the West were being sold on the dark net. 

Moscow has long criticized weapons deliveries to Kiev by the US, EU, UK and some other nations, arguing that they only prolong the conflict and increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.

October 31, 2022 Posted by | Finland, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Cracks found in all four Olkiluoto Nuclear 3 feedwater pumps

WNN, 28 October 2022, Cracks of a few centimetres have been identified in all four of the feedwater pumps of the Olkiluoto 3 EPR in Finland. Operator Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) said it does not yet know the impact this will have on the schedule for the plant’s commissioning.

On 18 October, TVO announced that damage had been discovered in the internals of the feedwater pumps located in the plant’s turbine island during maintenance and inspection work.

The feedwater pumps are Olkiluoto 3’s largest pumps and are used to pump water from the feedwater tank into the steam generators. TVO said the cracks detected in the pumps have no impact on nuclear safety.

The company noted the structure of the feedwater pumps located in Olkiluoto 3’s turbine island is commonly used in power plants. However, the pumps at OL3 have been designed for the plant unit’s operations and are larger in size.

“The investigation is currently ongoing in several laboratories,” TVO has now said. “The root cause of the cracks found in the pump impellers is still unknown.”……………………………. more https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Cracks-found-in-all-four-OL3-feedwater-pumps

October 28, 2022 Posted by | Finland, safety | Leave a comment

Olkiluoto nuclear station – more delays due to damage to water feed pumps

 Damage has been detected in the inner parts of the feed water pumps of the
turbine plant at Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 EPR reactor, plant owner-operator
Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) has said. “In connection with maintenance
and inspection work, damage has been observed in the inner parts of the
feed water pumps of the Olkiluoto 3 turbine plant. The matter will probably
have an impact on the progress of the trial operation of Olkiluoto 3 and
the start of regular electricity production,” TVO noted. According to
Siemens, which is part of the plant supplier consortium, the impact of
damage to the feed water pumps on the schedule is not yet known. Together
with the plant supplier, TVO actively participating in the investigation
work. The feed water pumps located in the turbine plant of the nuclear
power plant pump water from the feed water tank to the evaporators. Damage
to the pumps has no effect on nuclear safety.

 Nuclear Engineering International 20th Oct 2022

https://www.neimagazine.com/news/newsmore-delays-to-ol3-10102381

October 21, 2022 Posted by | Finland, safety | Leave a comment

Damage to feedwater pumps delays the operation of Finland’s massive new Olkiluoto nuclear reactor.

 Damage has been detected in the feedwater pumps of Finland’s Olkiluoto 3
(OL3) nuclear reactor during maintenance work, which will likely delay the
commissioning of the plant and the startup of regular production, operator
TVO said on Tuesday.

The damage to Europe’s largest nuclear reactor is a
setback for Finland, where the national grid operator has warned of
potential power blackouts in the coming winter if OL3 could not reliably
supply electricity.

Imports of power to Finland from Russia stopped in May
after Russian utility Inter RAO said it had not been paid for the power it
sold, increasing Finland’s need for OL3’s output.

Under construction since
2005, OL3 was originally meant to start operation in 2009, but has faced
several technical mishaps, which sparked costly delays and a lengthy legal
battle. TVO said the latest problem had occurred in pumps located in the
so-called turbine island at the heart of the nuclear reactor’s power
production, where water from its feedwater tank is pumped into steam
generators.

 Reuters 18th Oct 2022

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/finlands-ol3-nuclear-reactor-risks-more-delay-after-damage-found-2022-10-18/

October 19, 2022 Posted by | Finland, safety | Leave a comment

Finnish pharmacies run out of iodine pills as Russian nuclear fears increase

SMH 13 Oct22, Helsinki: Many Finnish pharmacies ran out of iodine tablets on Wednesday, a day after the Nordic country’s health ministry recommended that households buy a single dose in a case of a radiation emergency amid increasing fears of a nuclear event due to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“An accident at a nuclear power plant could release radioactive iodine into the environment, which could build up in the thyroid gland,” the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said on Tuesday.

Chemists in many locations in Finland reported on Wednesday they had run out of iodine tablets as citizens rushed to purchase the medicine. Drug wholesalers also said their stockpiles were emptied out.

The ministry said the iodine tablet recommendation is limited to those aged 3-40 because of the potential risks that radiation exposure poses to that age group…………………………

In a case of a radiation emergency, sheltering indoors is the main way for people to protect themselves from hazardous radiation, the Finnish health ministry stressed.  https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/finnish-pharmacies-run-out-of-iodine-pills-as-russian-nuclear-fears-increase-20221013-p5bpef.html

October 12, 2022 Posted by | Finland, health | Leave a comment

Finnish energy company to take Russia’s nuclear giant to court

Fennovoima, a Finnish energy company, announced it would launch several
arbitrations and other proceedings against various Rosatom entities on
Saturday, following the collapse of a nuclear power plant project in
Finland.

Fennovoima purchased the nuclear power plant from RAOS Project, a
subsidiary of the Russian Rosatom Group, in 2013. The estimated €7
billion Hanhikivi 1 project in northwestern Finland was set to be finished
by 2029. After delays in delivering technical and safety documents to
Finnish authorities, Fennovoima terminated the project at the start of May.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also made continuing impossible. Rosatom
denied any technical issues, claimed the work was proceeding as planned and
blamed the Finnish side for politicising the project. A bitter divorce made
compensation claims from both sides inevitable. Fennovoima is seeking
compensation amounting to €2 billion for: “damages arising out of the
delays and inability to deliver the project and related issues.”

Euractiv 22nd Aug 2022, https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/finnish-energy-company-to-take-russias-nuclear-giant-to-court/

d Aug 2022

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Finland, Legal | Leave a comment