Plant Operation

Olkiluoto-3 / Regulator Gives Green Light For First Criticality At Finland EPR Plant

By Kamen Kraev
16 December 2021

Commercial operation scheduled for June 2022
Regulator Gives Green Light For First Criticality At Finland EPR Plant
First electricity is expected to be generated at Olkiluoto-3 in January 2022. Image courtesy TVO.
Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland (Stuk) granted today a permit to utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) to go ahead with the physical startup of the Olkiluoto-3 EPR plant in western Finland, a statement by the regulator said.

Last week, TVO submitted an application to Stuk asking for green light to proceed towards first criticality at the 1,600-MW Generation III pressurised water reactor unit. First criticality at a nuclear plant means achieving a controlled, self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction in the reactor core for the first time

Stuk said Olkiluoto-3 has met the preconditions for criticality and low power tests, but before the reactor is made critical the regulator will still verify the startup preparedness of the plant.

The regulator also said that it will monitor power ascension testing onsite while TVO will still need a permission to increase output levels by more than 5%, followed by 30% and 60%.

TVO said Olkiluoto-3 is still scheduled to become critical in December, while electricity production, and hence grid connection, is expected at the end of January 2022. Commercial operation remains on schedule for June 2022.

First fuel loading at Olkiluoto-3 was completed in March. First criticality was scheduled for January 2022, according to the latest timeframe from this summer.

Construction of the plant, supplied by an Areva-Siemens consortium, began in August 2005, but was later delayed several times by the supplier and suffered consequent cost overruns.

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