After more than a decade of setbacks, electricity production at Olkiluoto's third nuclear power plant unit began Saturday, March 12, 2022 at 12:01, Finland’s utility and plant owner Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) announced.
The OL3 reactor, which is expected to meet 14 percent of Finland’s electricity demand, was commissioned on December 21, 2021, and since then the power level has been gradually raised to about 27 percent.
On Saturday, the plant unit is connected to the national grid with a capacity of 103 MW. The milestone reached is the first for the country in over four decades.
OL3 was first scheduled for production in 2009, based on a construction start in 2005. The plant, constructed, by a consortium including Siemens AG, AREVA, and GmbH, ran into numerous delays, however. The most recent delay, pushing grid connection back a month, was caused by an unplanned reactor shutdown that occurred on 14 January.
The plant is now scheduled for a trial and testing period that is expected to last four approximately four months. During this time, the capacity of the OL3 plant unit will be gradually increased to 1,600 MW. This is a large production volume, about 3-4 terawatt hours during the trial period, which corresponds to about 10 percent of Finland's electricity needs. However, “power levels vary significantly during test operation,” TVO said.
“The start of electricity production has been carefully prepared and this is a great demonstration of our expertise. OL3 is a significant addition to domestic clean electricity production, which accounts for more than 90 percent. At the same time, the need for electricity imports will be reduced by less than half, said Production Director Marjo Mustonen.
“The start of electricity generation is a key milestone in our joint project with plant supplier Areva-Siemens. We are now continuing the trial operation by gradually increasing the plant's capacity and preparing for the start of regular electricity production, said Project Manager Journi Silvennoinen.
OL3's regular electricity production is expected to begin in July 2022.
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