An audit by radiation and nuclear safety watchdog STUK has highlighted possible deficiencies by the Fennovoima power company as it prepares to build a nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki, western Finland. Yle obtained a copy of the STUK audit, in which workers complained of poor management, workplace discrimination, and a tendency to downplay safety issues. Fennovoima has denied the allegations.
A report by Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK has flagged employee concerns over the quality of management at the Finnish-Russian nuclear power firm Fennovoima. Workers interviewed for the audit claimed to have been put under pressure, sidelined, or even “smoked out” for drawing attention to safety concerns or questionable practices.
The findings were detailed in a safety audit that STUK began in late autumn last year and which is still ongoing. Fennovoima needs a clean bill of health from the audit to qualify for a construction permit in 2018. The company hopes to complete the nuclear power plant in 2024.
In an initial report that it completed in December, STUK expressed concerns about whether or not safety was a priority for Fennovoima, and whether or not the company’s management team had adequate experience in the nuclear energy sector………
Signature changes, amateur managementThe employee survey responses also revealed suspicions that the company had changed the signatures on documents relating to nuclear safety. The report indicated that “some documents” had been approved by changing signatures, if the original experts had not agreed to sign off on them. According to STUK several respondents corroborated this claim…….
STUK: Audit report not publicYle called on STUK to provide a copy of the shortcomings flagged in the report it drew up last December. However the nuclear safety watchdog refused to hand it over, saying that the audit was still ongoing…….http://yle.fi/uutiset/safety_audit_flags_shortcomings_by_fennovoima_nuclear_power_firm/9099368
The foremost reason is that as the project was being discussed with the public, SKB’s research was found to be incomplete and, in certain cases, inaccurate.
When, in 2011, Sweden’s SKB first applied for a license to build the Forsmark repository, the KBS-3 project documentation was published, which made it possible to give the project a review that would be independent from the nuclear industry’s own evaluation.
In February 2016, a special expert group appointed by the government, called the Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste (Kärnavfallsrådet), published a 167-page report entitled “Nuclear Waste State-of-the-Art Report 2016: Risks, uncertainties and future challenges.” Among other things, it identifies the repository project’s risks and uncertainties having to do with earthquake impacts, with the long-term prospects of financing and monitoring the site’s condition, and with the health effects of low doses of radiation.
Finland has no such expert body. The concept of the repository, under construction in Euroajoki municipality, is criticized by many Finnish scientists, but the government is not taking notice and is likewise ignoring the scientific objections coming from its neighbor Sweden.
When haste makes risky waste: Public involvement in radioactive and nuclear waste management in Sweden and Finland – How did it happen that in Sweden, the country that developed the technology for deep geological disposal of radioactive waste, construction of a such a repository – a first of its kind in the world – has been suspended for recognized risks and uncertainties, whereas Finland, which has copied the Swedish approach, is moving full speed ahead with building one? Bellona has looked for the answer on a fact-finding visit of the two countries. Bellona August 9, 2016 by Andrei Ozharovsky, translated by Maria Kaminskaya
“……..Out of sight, out of mind?
The deep geological disposal concept was first suggested over 40 years ago to solve the problem of spent nuclear fuel, the nuclear industry’s most dangerous byproduct. To a certain degree, this was a continuation of the “bury and forget about it” principle, applied to the less radioactive and thus less dangerous waste – radioactive waste. But where radioactive waste could be placed in shallow trench-type reservoirs or semi-buried near-surface concrete vaults, for nuclear waste, disposal facilities – repositories or burial sites – were proposed for construction in rock formations at a depth of several hundred meters. To date, no such deep geological repository has been created anywhere in the world. Continue reading
Finns deeply worried about French nuclear industry Ft.com Richard Milne, Nordic Correspondent , 14 June 16
One of the main international customers for a much-delayed and costly nuclear reactor has expressed deep worries over the future of France’s atomic industry amid signs of political wrangling.
Finland’s TVO was the first customer for French nuclear group Areva’s European Pressurised Reactor technology — due to also be used at the UK’s controversial Hinkley Point power station — but the project has been beset by large cost overruns and a delay of almost a decade.
The two companies had been in negotiations in recent weeks to resolve multibillion-euro legal claims by both parties, as well as pave the way for the sale of a majority stake in Areva’s nuclear reactor business to French utility EDF.
But the sudden breakdown of those talks has rattled TVO, which operates some of Finland’s nuclear power plants. Jarmo Tanhua, chief executive, told the Financial Times of his big concerns about the future of France’s nuclear industry.
“We are afraid of what is happening. One thing is we don’t really understand why we don’t proceed with the negotiations. Our understanding is that it has something to do with the restructuring in France or the politics,” he said.
Mr Tanhua added that his biggest fear was that the French could decide to run down “some parts of the industry or some know-how”, particularly in its EPR technology.
Finland to bury nuclear waste for 100,000 years in world’s costliest tomb ABC News 7 June 16 Deep underground on a lush green island, Finland is preparing to bury its highly-radioactive nuclear waste for 100,000 years — sealing it up and maybe even throwing away the key.
Tiny Olkiluoto island, off Finland’s west coast, will become home to the world’s costliest and longest-lasting burial ground, a network of tunnels called Onkalo — Finnish for “The Hollow”.
Countries have been wrestling with what to do with nuclear power’s dangerous by-products since the first plants were built in the 1950s.
Most nations keep the waste above ground in temporary storage facilities, but Onkalo is the first attempt to bury it for good.
Starting in 2020, Finland plans to stow around 5,000 tonnes of nuclear waste in the tunnels, more than 420 metres below the Earth’s surface.
Already home to one of Finland’s two nuclear power plants, Olkiluoto is now the site of a tunnelling project set to cost up to 3.5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) to build and operate until the 2120s, when the vaults will be sealed for good……
At present, Onkalo consists of a twisting five-kilometre tunnel with three shafts for staff and ventilation. Eventually the nuclear warren will stretch 42 kilometres….
Spent nuclear rods will be placed in iron casts, then sealed into thick copper canisters and lowered into the tunnels.
Each capsule will be surrounded with a buffer made of bentonite, a type of clay that will protect them from any shuddering in the surrounding rock and help stop water from seeping in.
Clay blocks and more bentonite will fill the tunnels before they are sealed up.
The method was developed in Sweden where a similar project is under way, and Posiva insists it is safe.
But opponents of nuclear power, such as Greenpeace, have raised concern about potential radioactive leaks.
“Nuclear waste has already been created and therefore something has to be done about it,” said the environmental group’s Finnish spokesman Juha Aromaa.
“But certain unsolved risk factors need to be investigated further.”
Looking 100,000 years into the future
Environmental groups are questioning the risks of the ambitious nuclear waste storage plan
Planning the nuclear graveyard involves asking the impossible — how can we know what this little island will be like in 100,000 years? And who will be living there?
To put the timeframe into perspective: 100,000 years ago Finland was partly covered by ice, Neanderthals were roaming Europe and Homo Sapiens were starting to move from Africa to the Middle East……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-08/finns-to-bury-nuclear-waste-in-world’s-costliest-tomb/7488588
“……the extraordinary problems at Olkiluoto have cast doubts over Finland’s ability to manage such projects, while Fennovoima was hit by a farcical hunt for European investors for Hanhikivi.
Worries about Russian involvement almost brought down the previous Finnish coalition government. The Green party left the administration, accusing its former partners, some of whom are still in power, of pursuing a policy of “Finlandisation” — an extremely loaded term locally meaning the accommodation of Russian views in Finnish policy. …..
The deal is also of huge importance to Rosatom and its international ambitions to play a leading role in any revival of nuclear power outside the former Soviet Union…..” Finland raises its bet on nuclear power, Ft.com 5 June 16
One of the big three credit ratings agencies operating on the world stage, Standard & Poor’s, has lowered the credit rating of the Finnish firm Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) from BBB-/A-3 to BB+/B.
The nuclear power company is owned by a consortium of power and industrial companies in Finland, the largest shareholders being the energy firms Pohjolan Voima and Fortum…….
Construction of a third TVO plant unit, Olkiluoto 3, has been plagued with problems from the start and is now seven years behind schedule. TVO has several pending disputes with the unit’s suppliers. In 2012, TVO submitted a claim and defence to the International Chamber of Commerce for damages due to delays……
In July 2010 the Finnish Parliament ratified a decision-in-principle from the government concerning TVO’s application to construct a fourth plant unit, Olkiluoto 4. In September 2014, the government however rejected TVO’s application to have the validity of the decision-in-principle extended. http://yle.fi/uutiset/credit_ratings_agencies_downgrade_nuclear_power_company_tvo/8902267
30 Apr 16, Police have cleared protesters from the site of a proposed nuclear power plant at Pyhäjoki on the north-west coast after demonstrations took a violent turn on Thursday….http://yle.fi/uutiset/police_clear_anti-nuclear_plant_protest_camp/8849910
Apr 26, 2016 Protesters break into Finnish-Russian nuclear site, Reuters, Anti-nuclear protesters broke in to a construction site on Tuesday for a nuclear reactor to be supplied by Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom, choosing the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster for their demonstration…….
The Chernobyl disaster increased radiation levels in Finland, putting nuclear Finnish plant projects on ice for a decade.
This latest project has raised concerns and resistance from many Finns as the plant is set to forge deeper energy ties between EU state Finland and its former ruler Russia despite East-West tensions over the Ukraine crisis.
Rosatom has a 34 percent stake in the 7 billion euro ($7.9 billion) project. It will supply the reactor and also handle the project’s financing.
Fennovoima struggled to find local investors to fulfill an ownership condition set by the Finnish government, but utility Fortum last year signed up in a surprise move, prompting questions of political pressure from both countries involved…….http://www.reuters.com/article/us-finland-fennovoima-protests-idUSKCN0XN1TH
Finland’s TVO applies for delayed Olkiluoto nuclear plant licence http://uk.reuters.com/article/finland-nuclearpower-idUKL5N17H192 Apr 14, 2016
Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) has applied for an operating licence for its much-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor, saying it is on track to start production in late 2018.
“This is a significant milestone. The project is moving from installations to tests,” project manager Jouni Silvennoinen said in a statement on Thursday.
It was originally due to start operation in 2009, and TVO has traded blame for the delay with the plant’s supplier consortium Areva-Siemens , with both demanding billions of euros from each other in an ongoing arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce. (Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Alexander Smith)
Fennovoima still looking for final nuclear waste disposal site http://yle.fi/uutiset/fennovoima_still_looking_for_final_nuclear_waste_disposal_site/8795028. 7 Apr 16
The nuclear waste management company Posiva has remained steadfast in its refusal to allow waste from the planned Fennovoima nuclear power plant to be stored in its Onkalo disposal site in south-western Finland. The company had indicated that it would not accommodate Fennovoima’s nuclear waste even before the Pyhäjoki project got off the ground.
Nuclear waste management company Posiva said that it has not changed its mind about allowing spent fuel from the Fennovoima nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki to be stored in its Onkalo waste facility being built further south on the west coast.
Posiva has said that the subterranean cave is reserved for use only by joint owners Teollisuuden Voima, TVO, which operates a series of reactors at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant in Eurajoki, western Finland, and energy giant Fortum, which operates its own nuclear power facilities in Loviisa, southern Finland. The latter also has a six-percent stake in the controversial Fennovoima project.
Posiva chief executive Janne Mokka said that the spent nuclear fuel depository and its surrounding areas have been reserved only for waste generated by TVO and Fortum.
Fennovoima has expressed the hope that possible waste from its Pyhäjoki nuclear facility could be accommodated in the Posiva cave.
However Posiva CEO Mokka said that the firm had so far mainly discussed how it could pass on the expertise earned from the Posiva deep geological depository to the Pyhäjoki project.
Disposal plan to be filed with ministry officials
Posiva began working on the depository in 2004, but only received a final green light for the project in November last year. It is to begin operations sometime in the early 2020s.
Fennovoima is currently planning a final waste disposal plan that is due to be lodged with the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in a few months.
However if the company cannot reach an agreement with Posiva, it will have to present ministry officials with an environmental impact assessment as part of alternative disposal plan.
Steadfast refusal from Posiva
Fennovoima has remained tight-lipped about possible cooperation with Posiva, but would only say that the matter is being discussed. A Fennovoima spokesperson said that the company is currently preparing a report into a waste disposal facility with the help of internal consultants.
Back in 2012, Posiva had already indicated that it would not accept waste from any other nuclear facility apart from that produced by its owners, TVO and Fortum. The Eurajoki subterranean disposal site is the world’s first permanent deep storage facility.
Spent fuel from the Fortum and TVO plants will have to be stored for 40-60 years before it cools enough to be stored underground. As the oldest Finnish reactors have been in operation since the late 1970s, some of their waste will soon be old enough for encapsulation.
40-year, €3.3bn project
The facility, which has been planned since 1983, is intended to keep the waste safe for some 100,000 years. The companies have estimated the price tag for the entire project at 3.3 billion euros.
Posiva’s initial refusal to host the waste from the Fennovoima project came just as Finland’s Supreme Administrative Court overturned appeals to block the project’s progress.
The motions were filed by one private individual and a number of environmental protection organisations seeking to block construction at two sites under consideration, one at Simo and the other at Pyhäjoki, both in the northwest.
The project has otherwise been beset by setbacks and controversy, but infrastructure work began in September last year.
Under Finnish law, all waste from nuclear facilities must be permanently stored in Finland.
The power plant is expected to start generating electric power in 2024.
In December 2013, Rusatom Overseas [Rosatom’s subsidiary – TASS] and Finnish Fennovoima signed the contract for construction of Hanhikivi-1 nuclear power plant. Along with the construction contract, a ten-year fuel contract was signed with Russia’s company TVEL.
Russia’s revenues from the Hanhikivi-1 nuclear power plant project will amount to €17.5 bln , head of Rosatom Sergey Kiriyenko said earlier. Of this amount only taxes to the federal budget will exceed €3 bln, he added.
According to Finnish media, the project’s cost will reach €6-7 bln, of which €1.6 bln will be invested by Fennovoima and the rest by Rosatom. The commissioning of the new nuclear power plant is scheduled for 2024.
Rusatom Overseas is to supply 1,200Mt reactor for Hakhikivi-1.
“I had the chance at the start of the week to speak to (Finnish Economy Minister) Olli Rehn, and we gave ourselves a month to let the companies and shareholders find the conditions for an agreement or way out,” Macron said on the sidelines of a New Year event.
Finnish utility TVO and an Areva-led consortium with Siemens are claiming billions of euros from one another in an arbitration suit over cost overruns and delays to the EPR reactor Areva is building in Olkiluoto, in Finland, for TVO.
The unsettled claims are holding up a planned takeover of Areva’s reactor arm by French utility EDF, which does not want to be responsible for them.
TVO has a 2.6 billion euro ($2.8 billion) claim against the Areva-Siemens consortium at the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) arbitration court, while Areva-Siemens have a 3.4 billion euro counter-claim.
While the French state – which owns 85 percent of EDF and 87 percent of Areva – has a big stake in a speedy resolution of the Olkiluoto claims, TVO is a private company and the Finnish government’s position so far has been not to intervene.
TVO’s owners include paper companies UPM and Stora Enso as well as utility Fortum. (Reporting by Michel Rose and Yann Le Guernigou; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by James Regan and Susan Thomas)
Anti-nuclear climbers defy Paris protest ban, four arrested http://www.nukeresister.org/2015/12/04/anti-nuclear-climbers-defy-paris-protest-ban-four-arrested/ Four anti-nuclear activists defied the state of emergency ban on public protest in Paris on Wednesday, December 2, climbing up the steel cables beneath the modern Arche de la Defense to hang banners. French environmentalists joined German climbers from the action group in the ascent as the COP 21 climate talks were underway. They first deployed small banners reading “Don’t Nuke the Climate – Stop EPR” (referring to the latest French reactor design). Police were quickly on the scene, including 20 from a specially equipped mountain brigade in town for the event. They pursued the climbers up the cables and prevented a larger banner from unrolling which would have proclaimed “System Change, Not Climate Change!”
The four were taken into custody and charged with disrupting public order and violating the state of emergency before their release some hours later. The action was part of international “Climate Games”, a call to direct action against institutions responsible for climate change.
Their statement said:
“States gathered at the COP 21 are powerless to prevent climate catastrophe. Their interests are too intertwined with those of multinationals. For the political change needed to happen, it is for the people to put pressure on governments and companies responsible for climate change.
“Given the climate problem, a capitalist economic system based on growth can only give us false solutions: geo-engineering, carbon markets and of course nuclear. It does not get us out of the impasse. It feeds unbridled energy consumption… ‘System change’ is to refuse the colonial wars of appropriation of resources and ecosystem changes that cause desperate migration, exacerbate ethnic and religious tensions, and contribute to the nihilistic radicalization of a minority. Faced with the threat of terrorism and the draconian response of the State, it is all the more urgent to carry this message to the heart of French economic power.”
Climber Cécile Lecomte wrote:
“In the international climate debate, uncontrolled economic growth is not discussed as a key driver of climate change. Nuclear power is totally unsuitable as a remedy to destructive economic growth. Instead of focusing on risky technologies, in particular the industrialized countries are invited to take a change of system – towards a democratic, social and ecological economy that is aligned to the needs of all people. Less is more!”
For more information, visit http://blog.eichhoernchen.fr/post/Action-escalade-pour-le-climat-Arche-de-la-Defense-malgré-etat-d-urgence
Deep Storage Plans Approved. IEEE Spectrum By Lucas Laursen 17 Nov 2015 Finland’s government issued a construction license to nuclear disposal consortium Posiva last week, Reuters reported. The license gives the group approval to build a storage facility on Olkiluoto Island, Finland, designed to last 100,000 years.
Nuclear waste consists of metal rods composed mostly of uranium with a molecular weight of 238. Over time, the depleted uranium atoms release radioactive particles—a process called decay—that converts the uranium into lighter elements. Over billions of years, those atoms decay, too. By the end, all that is left is lead.
In the (long) meantime, however, the radioactive material can contaminate its surroundings, and therefore requires costly management. The United States and other nuclear-powered countries have thus far proven unable to agree on where to store their half-century’s worth of accumulated nuclear waste. An earthquake, volcanic activity, or even a slow leak of water could disrupt the temporary facilities in which the waste now sits.
To provide safer and more permanent storage, Posiva proposes to bury electrically-welded iron-and-copper capsules 400 meters underground. The capsules would be surrounded by clay barriers and capped with rubble and cement. The facility, which would have a 6,500 metric ton capacity, could likely hold Finland and Sweden’s projected future nuclear waste. But that capacity doesn’t come close to the volume required by larger nations such as the United States, which has over 70,000 metric tons of waste piled up, and produces an additional 2,200 tons a year.
Though tunneling has been going on for over a decade, Posiva had to wait for the Finnish government to approve its 2012 construction permit application before it could begin the trickier task of loading radioactive waste into its metal coffins. That task may begin as soon as 2023, continue for up to a century, and end when operators fill in the access tunnels with rubble and cap them off with cement. Posiva estimates that installation and operating costs for the first century will be around €3 billion (US $3.21 billion). http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/nuclear/nuclear-waste-deep-storage-plans-approved
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