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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Owners and suppliers of Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor – locked in dispute over delayed project

Reuters 14th Nov 2017, Pohjolan Voima Oy (PVO), the largest shareholder in Finland’s
long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor, could make additional
compensation claims against suppliers Areva and Siemens following a recent
setback, PVO said on Tuesday.

The start of regular power production at
Olkiluoto 3 – Finland’s largest reactor – was last month postponed by
another five months to May 2019. “It (further compensation) has been
briefly discussed (within PVO). I don’t want to enter further this topic
as it is an issue for (reactor operator) Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) to
decide,” PVO CEO Lauri Virkkunen, told Reuters.

The owners and supplier are locked in a dispute over the plant’s delays at the International
Chamber of Commerce, where TVO is claiming 2.6 billion euros ($3.06
billion) from the Areva-led consortium, which has filed a counter-claim of
3.6 billion euros….

https://www.reuters.com/article/finland-nuclear-olkiluoto-pvo/update-3-owner-of-finnish-nuclear-reactor-may-seek-further-compensation-idUSL8N1NK6OZ

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November 16, 2017 Posted by | Finland, Legal | Leave a comment

Areva-Siemens and the Finnish electricity company TVO blame each other for delays in nuclear build

L’Usine Nouvelle 27th Oct 2017[Machine translation] Areva in the quagmire of the Finnish EPR. A further
delay in commissioning the Olkiluoto EPR in Finland is further complicating
the task of Areva SA, the new entity dedicated mainly to the end of the
project.

At this rate, the EPR Flamanville (Channel) will be put into
service before that of Olkiluoto in Finland. On October 9th, the
Areva-Siemens consortium informed the Finnish electrician Teollisuuden
Voima Oyj (TVO) that he was still cutting back the connection to the
reactor network in May 2019. It was initially planned for 2009!

And the penultimate postponement fixed the end of the test period at the end of
2018. After ten years of overtaking and 5 billion euros of additional cost,
the consortium Areva-Siemens and the Finnish electricity company TVO accuse
each other of the delay. The first claims 3.5 billion euros in compensation
to TVO, which continues for 2.6 billion.
https://www.usinenouvelle.com/article/areva-dans-le-bourbier-de-l-epr-finlandais.N604108

October 29, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

Still more delay in Finland’s Olkiluoto-3 nuclear power plant

French-backed Finnish nuclear plant delayed again https://www.ft.com/content/99922334-acc8-11e7-aab9-abaa44b1e130  High-profile power station likely to start production more than a decade late 
OCTOBER 9, 2017 by Richard Milne, Nordic Correspondent A high-profile French-backed nuclear power plant in Finland has been delayed yet again, meaning it is likely to start production more than a decade late. Western Europe’s first new nuclear power station for more than two decades will now start production in May 2019 rather than at the end of 2018 as previously announced, according to the Finnish consortium behind the Olkiluoto-3 plant.

Using a similar European pressurised reactor to the one envisaged for the UK’s controversial Hinkley Point plant, the Finnish project — led by French reactor manufacturer Areva — has been regularly beset by delays and huge cost overruns. Olkiluoto-3 was originally meant to start production in spring 2009 and cost €3.2bn but the last price estimate was almost three times as high. “We are very disappointed by this additional delay. There is still substantial work to be accomplished in the project and it is essential that all the necessary technical, human and financial resources are allocated to the project,” said Jouni Silvennoinen, head of the Olkiluoto-3 project at operator TVO.

TVO is particularly concerned about the reorganisation of the French nuclear industry under which utility EDF has taken over the lead role for the development of Hinkley Point. The Finnish nuclear plant operator is worried that France will prioritise another much-delayed project locally in Flamanville over Olkiluoto. “The restructuring of the French nuclear industry must not compromise [that enough resources be directed to Olkiluoto],” Mr Silvennoinen said. TVO took the unusual step last month of complaining to the European Commission that French state aid for Areva was not enough.

Areva, along with its one-time partner Siemens, and TVO have sued each other for billions of euros in a long-running arbitration dispute. The International Chamber of Commerce tribunal made a partial award in TVO’s favour last year but did not specify how much the Finnish group might receive.
The most recent delay is only the latest in a series of problems behind nearly all new nuclear reactors being built in western Europe. Operators complain about a lack of expertise after few reactors were built following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
Another Finnish project, Fennovoima, took the decision to go for Russian nuclear technology as manufacturer Rosatom has continued building power plants. But Fennovoima was forced this year to admit a delay of a year in obtaining its construction licence, an embarrassing setback for a project that had touted its ability to learn from the problems at Olkiluoto-3.
Flamanville is running at least six years late and three times over its original budget while Hinkley Point is under scrutiny both for its elevated and rising cost of £20bn and a guaranteed price for electricity that is well above the current wholesale level. TVO said Areva-Siemens had told it the first connection to the grid at Olkiluoto-3 would take place in December 2018 with the start of regular production forecast for May 2019.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Finland, politics | Leave a comment

Abandoned radioactive generators and other nuclear junk sunk in oceans by Russia

Feisty mayor in Russia’s Far East wants his nuclear trash collected http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2017-09-feisty-mayor-in-russia-far-east-wants-his-nuclear-trash-collected

While lighthouses run on atomic batteries in Russia have become rare, especially along the coasts of the Baltic and Barents Seas, they still have their adherents in the country’s Far East.  by Charles Digges   charles@bellona.no  While lighthouses run on atomic batteries in Russia have become rare, especially along the coasts of the Baltic and Barents Seas, they still have their adherents in the country’s Far East.

A group of radioactivity tracking sleuths on Sakhalin Island in the Pacific say they have hunted down an abandoned generator that ran on strontium-90 sunk off the shores of one of its premier beach resorts.

But that, they say, is just the tip of the iceberg: The discovery lies in the middle of a radioactive graveyard that includes no fewer than 38 sunken vessels containing nuclear waste, and two nuclear warheads that went down when a Soviet bomber crashed near the island’s southern tip in 1976.

Though the Russian Ministry of Defense recently began acknowledging the lost bomber, tracing the origins of the other nuclear cast offs is not so easy.

But at least, says Nikolai Sidirov, mayor of the coastal town of Makarov on Sakhalin’s Bay of Patience, his town knows what this new discovery is – and they want it raised from the depths with the rest of the glowing junk.

Speaking to Novaya Izvestiya, a popular tabloid that morphed out of the official Soviet-era mouthpiece Izvestiya, Sidirov said satellite photos tracking the location of the crashed bomber have turned up something else lurking under the waves: An RTG.

That’s short for Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, a small radioactive energy source that for decades powered thousands of Soviet lighthouses and other navigational beacons along Russia’s Baltic, Arctic and Pacific coasts.

After the fall of the Soviet Union and the crash of the Russian economy, officials lost track of many of the RTGs as bureaucracies collapsed and records went missing. Thieves pillaged them for their valuable metal, exposing their strontium innards. Hikers and shepherds, drawn to their atomic heat, would stagger out of the woods sick with radiation poisoning.

Around Murmansk and on the Pacific coast, frightful reports about strontium elements turning up on beaches proliferated in local media. Some newly independent Soviet republics telegraphed anxieties about their inherited RTGs back to Moscow – along with requests to come take them away.

And then there was the biggest fear of all: What if strontium 90 from these virtually unguarded, remotely radiological sources ended up in the hands of terrorists who wanted to make a dirty bomb?

So far, that hasn’t happened – anybody trying to make off with a strontium battery would likely end up very ill or dead. But when three woodsmen in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia turned up in a hospital with radiation burns and caught the attention of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the dangers of orphaned Soviet RTGs were finally on everyone’s mind.

A colossal effort spearheaded by the Norwegian government entirely rid the coasts of the Barents, Kara and White Seas of more than 180 RTGs. By infusing €20 million into the push, Norway helped Russia replace the strontium 90 batteries on these lighthouses and beacons with solar power over a six year period ending in 2015.

In all, Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, says it has decommission more than 1000 RTGs throughout the country, adding that it has mostly eliminated the hazard of these stray radioactive sources from its coastlines.

But some areas have not been so lucky, at least according to the mayor of Makarov out on Sakhalin Island, six times zones east of Moscow. Sidirov, a feisty campaigner who had been publicly heckling the capital about the nuclear trash in the seas near his town for years, says divers have located the RTG, and that he now has the coordinates of where it lies. He told Novaya Izvestiya he will pass on the RTGs location to what he calls “competent authorities” lest it end up in scheming hands.

How the RTG, which lies in 14 meters of water, came to be there is still anyone’s guess. The Russian Navy sent a statement to the newspaper insisting that all RTGs under the purview of the Pacific Fleet have been hunted down and destroyed.

But Russia’s environmental oversight agency confirmed that there were numerous radioactive foundlings in the oceans off Sakhalin Island, though they didn’t identify Sidirov’s RTG specifically.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time someone screwed up with an RTG in the area, however. Twenty years ago, in 1997, a helicopter from Russia’s Emergency Services Ministry accidentally dropped a strontium-powered RTG into Sakhalin’s waters. It was later retrieved by the navy.

So far, Rosatom has remained mum on the veracity of Sidirov’s claim about the RTG. But since the history of the downed bomber and the other hazards in his area has been confirmed, there’s every reason to believe him about the RTG. And he wants it gone.

“The ecological authorities and the military, they’re being very stubborn about coming to collect it,” Sidorov told Novaya Izvestiya. “It’s there job to collect it – if they’re ever interested, I’ll be here to show them exactly where it is.”

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Finland, oceans, Reference, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Finland’s TVO wins partial ruling in nuclear reactor dispute with Areva

Reuters 19 Jul 17 

*Olkiluoto nuclear project almost decade late* Finnish TVO, French Areva claim billions from each other

* Final decision seen coming in early 2018 (Adds comments, detail)

By Jussi Rosendahl and Benjamin Mallet HELSINKI/PARIS, July 20  – Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said on Thursday it had received another favourable partial decision from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in its long-running dispute with nuclear reactor supplier Areva.

The companies are claiming billions of euros from each other due to years of delays and cost overruns on the Olkiluoto 3 EPR reactor project in southwest Finland.

The new partial ruling addressed preparation, review, submittal, and approval of design and licensing documents on the project…..

The cost of Olkiluoto 3 was initially estimated at 3.2 billion euros ($3.7 billion), but Areva in 2012 estimated the overall cost at closer to 8.5 billion euros……http://www.reuters.com/article/tvo-areva-arbitration-idUSL5N1KB1V4

July 21, 2017 Posted by | Finland, Legal | Leave a comment

Delay for Finland’s Fennovoima nuclear project

Fennovoima nuclear project faces delays over safety clearance, building permit  yle uutiset , 19 May 17The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK will not deliver a safety assessment and related building permit for the Fennovoima nuclear project slated for Pyhäjoki in northwest Finland this year. According to the daily Kaleva, the nuclear watchdog has said that the evaluation and permit will be delayed by one year to the end of 2018.

Finland’s nuclear safety watchdog STUK will not provide a safety assessment and building permit this year for the Fennovoima nuclear power plant to be built by Russian state-owned nuclear contractor Rosatom in northwest Finland, reports the daily Kaleva. Rosatom also owns 34 percent of the venture.

Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs originally hoped that STUK would be able to provide the clearances this year. However the authority now says that it won’t be able to deliver them before the end of 2018. It noted that completing the safety assessment depends on factors such as Fennovoima’s ability to update information about the project’s delivery timetable. STUK’s ability to furnish the approvals will also depend on the adequacy and comprehensiveness of the information provided……..

Investor haemorrhage

Meanwhile on Wednesday, the Helsinki city council launched moves to disconnect Vantaa Energy – in which it owns 40 percent of shares — from the Fennovoima nuclear power plant. However, Vantaa Energy chief executive Pertti Laukkanen said that the city of Vantaa, which owns the remaining 60 percent of the power company, is not likely to support selling off its holdings in the project.

A number of other Finnish investors have also bailed on the project over the years. The German-based power behemoth E.ON as well as duopolist retailer S Group both shed their stake in the project in 2012. Later in 2013, 15 members of the power consortium Voimaosakeyhtiö SF pulled out of the venture, while a subsidiary of the other duopolist retailer K Group left in 2014. Meanwhile local dairy giant Valio exited in 2015 during a rocky period caused by losses over western sanctions applied against Russia, one of its main markets.

Financing controversy

The Fennovoima nuclear power plant has faced a rocky road since it received a decision-in-principle for construction during the administration of ex-PM Matti Vanhanen back in 2010. The contentious project also saw the departure of the Green Party from Alexander Stubb’s coalition government in 2014, when it decided to proceed with the proposed plant.

The project also stirred up controversy over financing arrangements when a murky Croatian firm – later found to be a front for Russian investors — emerged as a backer to help Fennovoima make up the 60-percent domestic- EU ownership required by the Finnish government. There was also speculation that state energy giant Fortum had been pressured to come forward as an investor following initial resistance to the project.

The project has faced opposition from environmentalists in Finland and Sweden and has also come under intense scrutiny over concerns about Finland’s energy dependence on Russia. http://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/daily_fennovoima_nuclear_project_faces_delays_over_safety_clearance_building_permit/9622096

May 20, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

AREVA and EDF pin their hopes on delayed, super-costly, Olkiluoto-3 nuclear project

Nuclear plant nears completion after huge delays, Western Europe’s first atomic power station in 15 years is test of Areva technology FT.COM 18 MAY 17  by: , Energy Editor  On the shores of the Baltic Sea, beneath the big azure sky of a Nordic spring, Finland’s Olkiluoto-3 nuclear plant looks almost complete.

A team of painting contractors streaming out of the red reactor building at the end of their shift are the only external sign that this is still a work in progress. Yet, as the final touches are made to western Europe’s first new nuclear power station for 15 years, its owners have a blunt assessment of progress. “If the nuclear industry wants to have a future it cannot afford more projects like this,” says Pekka Lundmark, chief executive of Fortum, the Finnish power company which owns a 26 per cent stake in TVO, the consortium behind Olkiluoto-3.

Areva, the French reactor manufacturer, began building Olkiluoto in 2005 with a target for completion by 2009 at a cost of €3.2bn. The latest timetable would see it open almost a decade late at the end of 2018 and nearly three times over budget at €8.5bn. The project is the most extreme example of the delays and cost overruns which have become commonplace in the nuclear industry, plunging reactor companies such as Areva and Toshiba’s Westinghouse subsidiary into financial crisis………

Olkiluoto is entering a crucial phase with “cold functional testing”, the first operational trials of the reactor system, due to start in June. Several further important milestones must be cleared in the months ahead before the Finnish nuclear regulator can issue an operating licence…….

TVO facing an awkward balancing act, between co-operating with Areva to finish the project while simultaneously pursuing the French company and its former partner, Siemens, for billions of euros of compensation for the delays.

Talks aimed at a settlement broke down a year ago and the International Court of Arbitration made a “partial award” last November in favour of TVO. It has yet to rule how much Areva and Siemens, which exited the consortium in 2009, must pay. Olkiluoto liabilities were among the main factors which led the French government to arrange a €5bn bailout of Areva, 87 per cent owned by the state, and force it into a tie-up with EDF, the French utility, due for completion this year. Responsibility for Olkiluoto will remain in a separate “old Areva” to protect state-controlled EDF from TVO’s compensation claim, which would ultimately be borne by French taxpayers. The restructuring has raised alarm in Finland that Areva might neglect Olkiluoto in favour of projects at Flamanville in France and Hinkley Point in the UK which are both led by EDF. All three projects involve the European Pressurised Reactor, technology conceived by French and German engineers in the 1990s that was supposed to herald a new era of international growth for the French nuclear industry. Instead, it has turned into a nightmare as construction problems, along with renewed safety fears after the meltdown in 2011 at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, have combined to curb demand.

The EPR was designed with safety as the top priority after the Chernobyl meltdown in Ukraine a decade earlier spewed radioactive fallout across Europe. But extra safeguards, such as a concrete dome over the reactor strong enough to withstand an aircraft strike, have proved ruinously expensive to build.

……..The Flamanville plant is six years late and €7bn over budget, with the risk of further delays beyond the current 2018 opening target as French regulators scrutinise potential faults with reactor components…….

EDF and Areva are hoping for a smoother experience at Hinkley Point, where concrete was poured for the first permanent structures in March…..
After heavy losses elsewhere, EDF and Areva desperately need to make money from Hinkley’s two reactors. The £18bn project has been criticised in Britain for the £92.50 per megawatt hour price guaranteed to EDF for electricity from the plant, rising with inflation for 35 years. That is more than twice the current wholesale price, but it will only prove a good deal for EDF if it can control construction costs better than has been the case at Flamanville and Olkiluoto……..https://www.ft.com/content/36bee56a-3a01-11e7-821a-6027b8a20f23 

May 19, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

Solar cooling

Environmentally friendly, almost electricity-free solar cooling https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170313085606.htm

Also serves as a heat pump

Date:
March 13, 2017
Source:
Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)
Summary:
Demand and the need for cooling are growing as the effects of climate change intensify. An emission-free, solar-powered chiller has now been developed by scientists. The potential market is world-wide, particularly in warm countries.

Demand and the need for cooling are growing as the effects of climate change intensify. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and German company ZAE Bayern have built an emission-free, solar-powered chiller; a pilot system has been tested in Finland and Germany. The potential market is world-wide, particularly in warm countries.

The production and consumption of solar cooling are simultaneous. A property’s cooling needs are highest when the sun is shining.

VTT and German company ZAE Bayern have developed a solar-powered 10 kW chiller. This absorption chiller works in the same way as the gas refrigerators used in Finnish holiday cabins, for example. But in this case, a solar thermal collector is used instead of gas. The method requires electricity for the flow pumps only. If necessary, the chiller can also serve as a heat pump.

The results of the project showed that — to be used as a heating pump as well — an economically viable and competitive, solar-powered absorption chiller would need to be 50 kW or bigger.

Finnish company Savo-Solar Plc participated in both the planning phase and the practical tests. As a result, the company’s head office was successfully cooled using the pilot system built for the project. Savo-Solar and ZAE Bayern aim to develop a commercial product which enables users to cut their electricity bills through cooling with absolutely no need for electricity. This would also reduce emissions.

The chiller was tested as an air-conditioner for Savo-Solar’s office during the summer and for heating it during the winter. Solar collectors on the roof of the building were used to collect the required energy. If the collectors did not produce enough energy during, say, the winter, or on a cloudy day, a heat pump served as a substitute energy source. Other possible energy sources would be district heating, biofuel boilers or industrial process heat.

Examples of large, megawatt-class absorption chillers based on district heating can already be found in Helsinki and Turku in Finland.

Another practical test was performed using an absorption chiller based on a bio-boiler in ZAE Bayern’s laboratory in Munich, Germany. This system can also be supplemented with solar energy.

Learn more at: http://www.vtt.fi/inf/pdf/technology/2017/T287.pdf

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Finland, renewable | Leave a comment

Finland utility taking legal action against nuclear company AREVA

legal actionFinnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said today that it has started legal action against the same company which is supplying two nuclear reactors to Hinkley Point C. City A.M. Jessica Morris, 29 Sep 16 

It’s taking Areva to court over delays at Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor in Finland. The project, which was supposed to showcase EDF and its engineering partner Areva’s EPR technology, has been plagued by disputes, budget overuns and delays

A TVO spokesman told Reuters that it had not received assurances from plant supplier Areva that the Olkiluoto project would have the necessary resources to be ready to begin power production by 2018 as planned.

“We have asked for this several times but have not received the necessary assurances,” said Pasi Tuohimaa, spokesman for TVO, adding that the case was filed in a French commercial court…….http://www.cityam.com/250284/finnish-firm-takes-hinkley-point-c-nuclear-reactor-maker

September 29, 2016 Posted by | Finland, Legal | Leave a comment

Finland ready to grasp a nuclear marketing opportunity in South Australia

nuclear-marketing-crapflag-FinlandFinland’s Onkalo nuclear waste disposal facility want to export the technology to South Australia, The Advertiser Daniel Wills, Helsinki, Finland, The Advertiser September 21, 2016 OPERATORS of the world’s most advanced nuclear disposal facility want to export the technology to South Australia and form an alliance to help the state develop its own commercial facility to take waste from around the world.

At a briefing with Premier Jay Weatherill at Finland’s Onkalo nuclear waste disposal facility, Posiva Solutions Oy managing director Mika Pohjonen said his company would be willing to licence intellectual property and engineering solutions to SA if it were to proceed with expanding the local nuclear industry.

Posiva is a joint venture owned by two of Finland’s biggest energy companies — Teollisuuden Voima Oyj and Fortum Power and Heat. It is set to become the first organisation in the world to bury a canister of spent nuclear fuel when they begin inserting them into the bedrock from 2020. Mr Pohjonen said SA could hope to move from site selection to burying canisters within about 15 years, less than half the time taken by Finland, because the Scandinavians had already undertaken the slow work of proving the technology………

The Onkalo disposal site is about 10 times smaller than that conceived by SA’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission.……

Mr Weatherill will by the end of the year declare a formal State Government position to Parliament on expansion of the industry………

“The next major step is a threshold question about whether we maintain our prohibition against a facility for spent fuel or whether we take a step to explore it further.”-  Mr Weatherill said ….

weatherill-nuclear-dream

….http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/finlands-onkalo-nuclear-waste-disposal-facility-want-to-export-the-technology-to-south-australia/news-story/5b26cc6e0bf9f342bac97fa5ba81c444

September 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Finland, marketing | Leave a comment

The miserable and ongoing history of EDF’s unfinished nuclear reactors in Flamanville and Olkiluoto

The £18bn Hinkley gamble: Nuclear deal will cost every UK family an extra £1,000 as May signs off on the plans to protect Britain’s national security 

  • Prime Minister approved plans after restricting influence of Chinese state
  • Britain will guarantee EDF £92.50 per megawatt hour, up on current market price of £38.91
  • Tory MP Zac Goldsmith said the plant would generate ‘most expensive energy in the history of energy generation’

By JASON GROVES DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR FOR THE DAILY MAIL, 16 Sept 16 “……..Construction at the site near Cherbourg began in 2007, with a scheduled completion date of 2012. But within a year, cracks were found in the concrete base and a quarter of the welds in the reactor’s secondary steel lining were found to be defective.

Reactor-EPR-Flamanville

Inspections also revealed holes in concrete pillars and faults in buildings where nuclear fuel is to be stored.

A report by France’s nuclear safety authority in 2011 recorded 13 incidents of sub-standard safety measures. In 2013, a welder fell to his death. Then last year defects were discovered in safety valves in the cooling system.

Chillingly, this was similar to a problem that led to the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident in Pennsylvania in 1979, which before Chernobyl was the world’s worst nuclear accident, and resulted in $1billion (£750million) of clean-up costs.

It was also in 2015 that Flamanville suffered a potentially killer-blow.

Tests on the steel used to construct the base and lid of the nuclear reactor vessel showed that too much carbon had been used, leading to weaknesses in the structure.

Professor Steve Thomas, of the University of Greenwich, said that if this led to the reactor failing, there would be no warning. ‘It will fail catastrophically and allow its radioactive contents into the environment,’ he said.

For their part, EDF and its project partner – the majority French state-owned company Areva, which makes nuclear reactors – have been forced to make more tests on the steel.

At the time the faults were found, the Financial Times said: ‘The scale of the risks to EDF if those tests identify a serious problem is hard to exaggerate.’

Whatever the findings of these new tests, Flamanville’s opening date – which has already been put back six years – is still nowhere in sight.

Professor Thomas warns that if it has to be rebuilt, the process could take up to five years, adding: ‘That might be prohibitively expensive and the whole plant could be abandoned.’

All this assumes that government-owned EDF doesn’t go bust in the meantime – which is a possibility.

In March, the company’s finance director Thomas Piquemal resigned, saying that taking on Hinkley as a project risked driving the firm to bankruptcy. Problems were compounded by the fact that Areva has had to be bailed out by the French government, with an injection of £3.4billion of public money in April. Inevitably, the European Commission has launched an investigation into this rescue package to check it did not ‘unduly distort competition’.

For some time, Areva – which is 87 per cent owned by the state – had been struggling with a downturn in the nuclear industry and has suffered big financial losses on its projects.

Once the pride of France, the reactor designer saw its credit rating downgraded last year, and in February it reported a €2billion (£1.7billion) net loss for 2015.

Olkiluoto was meant to be the world’s biggest nuclear reactor. But it is already nearly a decade late, and its cost has tripled from €3billion (£2.5billion) to nearly €9 billion (£7.6billion).

reactor-Olkiluoto_14

The project been subject to lawsuits, technology failure, construction errors and a bitter row between participant companies that has been described as ‘one of the biggest conflicts in the history of the construction sector’.

Work began on the EPR in 2005 and was scheduled to be completed in 2009. But from early on, problems emerged.

The concrete base on which the plant was to be built proved to be faulty, and had to be taken up and relaid. Then there was a problem with the electronic control systems.

Because it is absolutely vital that engineers can manage the temperature inside the reactor, a new nuclear plant must have two parallel control systems in case one fails.

The problem at Olkiluoto was that the two systems were too similar – meaning that if something caused the first one to shut down, there was a big risk that the second one would also close down.

The issue took five years to resolve – with the result that the power station is not expected to open until 2018 at the earliest.

Not surprisingly, the Finnish government has cancelled an option to buy a second reactor.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3791895/The-18bn-Hinkley-gamble-nuclear-deal-cost-UK-family-extra-1-000-signs-plans-protect-Britain-s-national-security.html

September 17, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Finland, France | Leave a comment

Serious safety problems at Finland’s Fennovoima nuclear project

Economic Affairs minister: Fennovoima nuclear project safety severely lacking http://yle.fi/uutiset/economic_affairs_minister_fennovoima_nuclear_project_safety_severely_lacking/9157634, 10 Sept 16

The Fennovoima nuclear power plant project has to develop its safety culture if it wants to secure a building permit, says Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn. The Fennovoima nuclear power plant project faces severe problems in its safety culture, according to Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn.

Rehn met with the top echelon of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) to talk about safety and other issues relating to the Fennovoima project. Rehn says that the project is seriously lacking in its attention to project management and subcontractor resourcing.

“Big changes have to be made this autumn if the project’s credibility is to be regained,” Rehn told Yle.

On Wednesday Yle reported that Fennovoima has not delivered the planning documents for the Russian-backed plant within the time frame agreed upon with STUK.

Rehn stressed that Fennovoima’s safety concerns have to be fully in hand before any building permit can be issued.

Rehn spoke with the STUK top brass on Friday about the booted chief of main Fennovoima owner Voimaosakeyhtiö SF. The company fired its manager after he had brought up safety concerns with STUK.

“I consider it very serious that problems of this magnitude have arisen in Fennovoima,” Rehn says. “It is now the company’s duty to solve them and reinstitute trust in the project.”

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Finland, safety | Leave a comment

Sovereignty of Finland threatened by Fennovoima’s nuclear power plant project – Report

flag-FinlandReport: Fennovoima’s nuclear power project could undermine sovereignty of Finland, Helsinki Times, 01 SEPTEMBER 2016  Fennovoima’s nuclear power plant project in Pyhäjoki, Northern Ostrobothnia, is a high priority for Russia and threatens to undermine the national sovereignty of Finland, warns the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

“Russia’s way of geo-economically utilising energy political dependencies is already undermining the national sovereignty of especially smaller target countries,” its researchers say in a newly-published analysis of changes in the foreign policy of Russia and their implications for Finland.

Ville Niinistö, the chairperson of the Green League, estimates that the report substantiates concerns about the participation of Rosatom, a Russian state-owned nuclear energy company, in the nuclear power plant project and the exercise of foreign policy powers in energy-related issues by the Russian Government.The National Coalition Party – one of the most vocal advocates of the project in Finland – should according to him accept responsibility for eroding the security environment of Finland.

What say you, the National Coalition,” asks Niinistö.

Emma Kari (Greens) has similarly expressed her concerns that faith in nuclear energy has jeopardised the security of Finland.

“The Finnish Institute of Foreign Affairs’ report states explicitly that the nuclear power plant project of Rosatom in Pyhäjoki is under the manual control of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. Rosatom’s nuclear power plant is a tool to exercise power politics, increase our dependence of Russia and erode the position and security of Finland,” she writes on Facebook.

The National Coalition, she adds, pushed the project through the Finnish Parliament irrespective of such concerns.

“The project is of such importance that even after Finnish companies abandoned it, Fortum, a state-owned energy utility, was strong-armed into participating in order to grant Putin’s power plant the Nordic Ecolabel,” she slams.

“It is now clear that the project is not in the best interests of this country.”…….http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/14199-report-fennovoima-s-nuclear-power-project-could-undermine-sovereignty-of-finland.html

September 2, 2016 Posted by | Finland, politics | Leave a comment

Safety problems at Fennovoima nuclear power firm revealed by audit

safety-symbol-Smflag-Finland Safety audit flags shortcomings by Fennovoima nuclear power firm, Yle Uutiset, 16.8.2016

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

August 17, 2016 Posted by | Finland, safety | Leave a comment

Finland failed to be transparent on nuclear waste burial, unlike Sweden

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.


wastes-1flag-FinlandWhen 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 , 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

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Finland, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment