Fuel Loading Begins At Long-Delayed OL3

Finnish utility TVO (Teollisuuden Voima Oyuj) said this week that fuel loading for the Olkiluoto Unit 3 nuclear plant had commenced a day after the company received its operating license from regulators.

OL3 The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) of Finland granted the operating license on March 26, paving the way for 241 fuel assemblies, which will be loaded from storage to the reactor core by 40 technicians. The fuel loading is expected to take about a week after which hot operations testing – testing the plant under operating conditions concerning pressure and heat – will commence. These are tests that were initially completed in 2018, but OL3 has faced considerable delays during construction. The original operations date was scheduled for April 2009. Commercial operations are now not expected until February 2022.

“During the months following the fuel loading, maintenance and finalization work will be continued, and tests will be performed. The most important test is the hot functional test, in which the reactor and turbine island is tested for use. During testing, dozens of separate tests are performed with different pressure and temperature levels. The previous hot functional test was completed in 2018,” TVO said.

OL3 is designed to produce 1-3 terawatt hours of electricity, which  According to the commissioning program, the plant unit will produce 1-3 terawatt hours of electricity with alternating power output, generating enough electricity to meet 14 percent of Finland's electricity demand.

As testing unfolds, OL3’s power output will be posted online at www.tvo.fi/ol3forecast.

Construction was managed by a multi-company consortium headed by Areva and Siemens. The companies belonging to the supplier consortium, AREVA GmbH, AREVA NP SAS and Siemens AG have contractual obligations that include “ensuring that the funds required for completion of the OL3 EPR project are sufficient and also cover all guarantee periods,” TVO said.

The accompanying video (see below) shows a fuel-loading practice run released by TVO.\