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New nuclear power for safe and efficient base load generation

After an extensive international bidding competition, Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO) signed a turnkey delivery contract in December 2003 with a consortium made up of Framatome ANP and Siemens for a new 1,600 MW reactor. Known as Olkiluoto 3, this will be built at the western end of Olkiluoto island, next to TVO's existing Olkiluoto 1 and 2 units.
Teollisuuden Voima Oyj

Studies on a new nuclear power unit were started toward the end of the 1990s, and TVO filed an application for a decision in principle with the Finnish government in November 2000. The government gave the green light to the project in January 2002, and the decision was ratified by Parliament in May 2002.

The project was then put out to tender, and, in December 2003, TVO selected a design based on the European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) offered by Framatome ANP and Siemens. Preparation of the site has already started, and full-scale construction will start in spring 2005. Commercial operation is scheduled for spring 2009.

A winning case

A number of factors contributed to the decision to go for more nuclear power. The fact that nuclear power does not generate carbon dioxide emissions was particularly important, with the need to reduce emissions very much in the limelight as a result of the Kyoto Protocol.

With electricity consumption continuing to increase in Finland, at an annual rate of 2-3%, and old power plants being decommissioned, a large new nuclear facility will help cover a potential shortfall in supply and reduce the country's dependency on imported energy. The fact that the price of nuclear electricity has proved very predictable and stable makes it particularly attractive in this respect.

Finland has also been active in developing a solution for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel, with final disposal due to start in 2020.

Strong references

Under the terms of the turnkey consortium, Framatome ANP will be responsible for the reactor plant, and Siemens for the turbine island.

Framatome ANP has delivered some 100 reactors around the world. Its most recent pressurised water deliveries include Civaux 1 and 2 in France, which were commissioned in 1997 and 1999, Angra 2 in Brazil, commissioned in 2002, and Lingao 1 and 2 in China, commissioned in 2002.

Siemens is one of the world's leading manufacturers of turbines and generators, and has supplied capacity totalling approximately 600 GW.

TVO itself will be responsible for site preparations, site infrastructure, and managing the licensing process with the Finnish nuclear regulator, STUK.

Financially viable

Olkiluoto 3 is a fixed-price turnkey contract, with an all-in value of some €3 billion. This includes interest costs during construction, fuel for the first operating cycle, infrastruc- ture work, and the management of radioactive waste.

The project has generated considerable interest among organisations outside TVO's previous ownership structure, and over 60 new companies have become owners, directly or indirectly, as a result of the Olkiluoto 3 project.

The finance for the project is being provided by a mixture of new equity, subordinate shareholder loan, and debt. All external funding has been sourced from commercial sources, without any state contribution in the form of subsidies or tax breaks.

State-of-the-art technology

Olkiluoto 3 will be a highly advanced facility, with a design service life of at least 60 years for all key structures and equipment. Other structures and equipment will have a service life of at least 30 years.

The design of the plant is an improved version of existing nuclear facilities, particularly the most recent N4 and Konvoi-type plants commissioned in France and Germany. New features have been added without compromising safety, production capacity, or reliability.

Safety has been given particular priority in the design. The possibility of a severe reactor accident has been factored into design work at every stage. Digital control and automation systems will be backed up by redundant analogue systems, for example, and the plant has been dimensioned to survive the impact of a commercial jet aircraft.

Operating economy has also been given particular attention, and the reactor will have an efficiency of more than 37%.

On track

TVO started site preparation work immediately after the investment decision was approved, and bedrock blasting began in February 2004. TVO applied for a construction license for the project in January 2004. When this has been granted, actual construction is scheduled to start in spring 2005.

As of the end of 2004, the consortium had assigned around 700 of its people to detail engineering on the project. Work has already started on the manufacture of the four steam generators in France, and on the reactor pressure vessel in Japan. A number of process equipment and civil design and civil works contracts have been awarded to Finnish companies.

With the project well on track, TVO fully expects to begin generating 1,600 MW of safe and efficient base load power in spring 2009.

Technical data
Net electric output   approx. 1,600 MW
Reactor thermal output   4,300 MW
Total efficiency   over 37%
Annual fuel consumption   approx. 32 t
Annual electricity generation   approx. 13 TWh
Condenser cooling water flow   57 m3/s
Turbine speed   1,500 rpm
Main steam temperature   290 °C

Olkiluoto 3 in a nutshell
Investment decision and start of the project   December 18, 2003
Total budget   approx €3 billion
Electrical output   approx. 1,600 MW
Start of generation   2009
Supplier   Framatome/Siemens
Location   Olkiluoto

> Tapio Saarenpää
(Published in High Technology Finland )