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Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 Nuclear Plant Begins Regular Output

Olkiluoto 3 Nuclear Plant Begins Regular Output

Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor, Europe’s largest, has begun regular output, according to its operator, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO). The project, which began construction in 2005 and was originally due to finish in 2009, has been plagued by technical issues and breakdowns that have caused repeated delays. The new reactor is expected to meet around 14% of Finland’s electricity demand, reducing the need for imports from Sweden and Norway. TVO has also stated that the reactor will produce for at least 60 years and help to stabilise electricity prices in Finland.

While nuclear power remains a controversial topic in Europe due to safety concerns, the OL3 reactor will play an important role in helping Finland achieve its goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2035. The Finnish government recently approved plans to build another reactor, Hanhikivi 1, at the same site, which is due to begin production in 2028 and will be operated by Russia’s Rosatom. This has raised concerns about security, and opposition parties have called for the project to be abandoned. However, the Finnish government argues that the new plant is necessary to replace the country’s ageing reactors and to ensure energy security.

Germany recently switched off its last three nuclear reactors, while other European countries such as Sweden, France, and Britain are planning new developments. OL3 is Finland’s first new nuclear plant in over four decades, and Europe’s first in 16 years. The start of regular output is expected to reduce Finland’s reliance on Russia for power, which ended last May when Russian utility Inter RAO stopped exporting energy to Finland due to unpaid bills resulting from tensions between Moscow and Europe over the war in Ukraine. Russian state export monopoly Gazprom also ended natural gas shipments to the Nordic nation.

TVO’s CEO Jarmo Tanhua said that OL3’s regular output “plays an important role in the Finnish green transition,” emphasising the reactor’s contribution to reducing Finland’s reliance on fossil fuels. The reactor’s successful start-up is a significant milestone for the project, which has experienced multiple delays and technical issues since construction began in 2005. The fact that the reactor is expected to produce for at least 60 years highlights the importance of nuclear power in Finland’s energy strategy, as the country seeks to reduce its carbon footprint and ensure energy security in the face of geopolitical tensions.

The Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor in Finland has finally started regular output, boosting energy security in a region that has seen cuts to gas and power supplies from Russia. The operator of the much-delayed project, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), announced that the reactor will meet around 14% of Finland’s electricity demand, reducing the need for imports from Sweden and Norway. The new reactor is also expected to produce for at least 60 years, according to TVO’s statement.

The OL3 project has been under construction since 2005 and was originally due to be completed in 2009. However, technical issues and breakdowns led to repeated delays. Despite these setbacks, TVO remains positive about the new reactor’s role in the Finnish green transition, and the CEO of the company, Jarmo Tanhua, has stated that the production of Olkiluoto 3 will help stabilise the price of electricity in the country.

Nuclear power has remained a controversial topic in Europe, with safety concerns being a primary issue. While Germany recently switched off its last three reactors, other countries such as Sweden, France, and Britain have plans for new developments. The OL3 project is Finland’s first new nuclear plant in over four decades and Europe’s first in 16 years.

Last May, Russia stopped exporting power to Finland after Russian utility Inter RAO claimed it had not been paid for the energy it sold. This move came as a result of growing tensions between Moscow and Europe over the war in Ukraine, and shortly after, Russian state export monopoly Gazprom also ended shipments of natural gas to the Nordic nation.

However, the Finnish government is determined to achieve its goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2035, and the OL3 reactor will play a vital role in this objective. To that end, the government approved plans last month to build another reactor at the same site. The proposed Hanhikivi 1 plant is set to begin production in 2028 and will be operated by Russia’s Rosatom, raising security concerns in some quarters. While opposition parties have called for the project to be abandoned, the Finnish government has argued that the new plant is necessary to replace the country’s ageing reactors and ensure energy security.

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