The Olkiluoto EPR nuclear reactor in Finland went online for the first time last night, the plant operator announced on Tuesday, twelve years after the initially scheduled commissioning date.
After the start at 03:22 local (01:22 GMT) of the reactor built by the French group Areva, electricity production should start at around 30% of power in January, before normal commissioning in June. says Finnish energy company TVO in a press release.
“The moment of commissioning was historic. The last time a reactor was commissioned in Finland dates back more than 40 years, and even in Europe this event dates back about 15 years”, underlines the operator of the Olkiluoto plant, referring to the launch of a reactor in Romania in 2007.
At the end of this project launched in 2005 in southwestern Finland, which has become a crossroads for Areva undermined by delays and financial drifts, the Finnish EPR will become the most powerful operating reactor in Europe.
With a production capacity of 1,650 megawatts, it should supply around 15% of the Nordic country’s consumption.
“This moment will forever remain a demonstration of the persistence of our work to get our new reactor up and running,” said Marjo Mustonen, vice president of TVO, praising “Finland’s greatest contribution to the climate.”
After the fuel was loaded into the reactor in March, the Finnish nuclear gendarme had authorized the start of the reactor last week.
EPR in the world (AFP – Vincent LEFAI)
Designed to revive nuclear power after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, notably thanks to a sizable concrete structure, the EPR encountered major construction problems, particularly in Finland and Flamanville in France.
So far, only two EPR reactors had gone into operation in the world, those at the Taishan Power Station in China. Its construction began after that of Olkiluoto-3, the first nuclear reactor to be ordered in the European Union since Chernobyl.
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