At the end of 2019, Fennovoima was still waiting for the delivery from Raos Project Oy, a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, of the basic design packages of the turbine island and buildings, of which the basic design documents for buildings are – except for the control room building – almost complete.
All approved design documentation is available to regulator Stuk, but does not require Stuk’s approval. The preliminary safety assessment, which is a condition for the construction licence, is a separate documentation package, and must be submitted to Stuk for approval.
The documents are part of the basic design review for the plant, which takes place in two stages. In the first stage, Fennovoima evaluates the safety of the plant, availability and maintenance aspects. At this stage, Fennovoima only issues conditional approvals for the documentation, meaning there are no technical obstacles in the design documentation that would prevent its final approval at a later stage.
Fennovoima did not say how many documents it is still waiting for from Raos Project Oy or when the preliminary safety assessment would be ready. Statistics in the company’s 2019 annual report, published on 25 March, suggested that as of 15 January 2020 almost 50% of the documents had been submitted.
Project engineering director Petri Jyrälä said once the first review stage is complete, the documents will already clearly determine what the physical plant will look like. “We do not expect to see any major modifications of the plant after that stage, and we can proceed to finalising the documentation,” he said.
Preparatory construction work on the Hanhikivi headland has reached a point where “we are ready for the construction of the nuclear power plant as soon as the construction licence is granted”, the report said. However, before beginning the construction of the plant, some 700,000 cubic metres of rock must be extracted from the excavation pit and the levelling concrete for the plant foundation must be poured.
In 2019 Fennovoima’s former chief executive officer Toni Hemminki said progress at Hanhikivi-1 was a disappointment in 2018 with a new estimated schedule postponing commercial operation by several years.
Earlier this month Fennovoima appointed Joachim Specht as new chief executive officer. The company said he will take up his post on 1 June.
Interim chief executive officer Timo Okkonen said the company had been focused on “reprogramming” both itself and Raos Project Oy. “This had become necessary due to the severe project delays that we had faced during the previous years,” he said. “We had already been carefully analysing the situation in 2018.”
The plant’s projected startup date has been pushed back to 2028, four years behind the original schedule and eight years later than the proposed start when Finland’s government approved the project in 2010.
Fennovoima, a consortium of Finnish industrial and energy companies, had warned in 2017 of potential delays. The aim is to receive the construction licence and to start construction in 2021.
Hanhkivi-1 will be a 1,200-MW VVER pressurised water reactor. The reference plant for the unit Leningrad 2 in Sosnovy Bor, Russia.
According to Fennovoima’s website, the total investment cost for Hanhikivi-1 will be between €6.5 and €7bn, which includes initial plant costs, financing and waste management. This estimate has remained the same since spring 2014, when the original investment decision was made, Fennovoima said.