Olkilouto 3- Finland’s Newest Nuclear Reactor (Finally) Begins Production

Plagued by technological problems and eventually lawsuits, the 1.6GW nuclear reactor was originally supposed to open in 2009. Once fully operational, it is expected to meet 14% of Finland’s electricity demand, reducing the need for imports from Russia, Sweden and Norway.

Anja Ussa, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent, Fi­nance, IT, Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment and Sup­port Ser­vices. Credit: TVO website

Anja Ussa, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent, Fi­nance, IT, Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment and Sup­port Ser­vices, TVO. Credit: TVO website

Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor started on-trail production this week, delivering power to the national grid. Operator Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said in a statement: “Over time, the reactor is expected to reduce the need for electricity imports and lead to lower prices. OL3 significantly improves Finland’s electricity self-sufficiency and helps in achieving carbon neutrality goals.” TVO is owned by Finnish utility Fortum (FORTUM.HE) and smaller energy and forestry firms.

Plagued by technological problems and eventually lawsuits, the 1.6GW reactor was originally supposed to open in 2009. It is Finland’s first new nuclear plant in over 4 decades and Europe’s first in almost 15 years.

Olkiluoto 3 started test production at just over 0.1GW, a small fraction of its capacity. TVO is expected to scale up production to full, regular electricity output by the end of July this year.

Once fully operational, it is expected to meet 14% of Finland’s electricity demand, reducing the need for imports from Russia, Sweden and Norway.

Aurora Energy Research economist Alexander Esser said: “Olkiluoto 3 will decrease Finland’s import dependency and it will become a cheaper price zone. Finland’s net imports of power averaged 13 TWh over the last few years, which should drop to 5-8 TWh by 2025 with Olkiluoto 3 in operation.”

Nuclear power remains controversial in Europe, with some countries such as Germany phasing out reactors amid safety concerns, while others including France and Britain are discussing new developments.

Marius Holm Rennesund, a partner at Oslo-based consultancy Thema, said: “Finland is the only Nordic country with a large power deficit. Finnish wholesale power prices will drop to 60/MWh in 2023 from a predicted average of 70/MWh in 2022, although the expected reduction will also come from lower gas prices. In 2024, Finnish wholesale power prices will likely fall further to 45/MWh.”

Related: Nuclear New Builds 2022 Forum – Bringing together top decision-makers in Nuclear New Build technologies from around the world.

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