Thursday, May 30, 2024

Europe’s largest nuclear reactor starts regular electricity production

Finland’s much-delayed Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant unit, started regular electricity production on Sunday, 16 April 2023. The news of OL3’s start-up comes shortly after Germany announced that it is shutting down its last three remaining reactors.

The electricity production volume of this nuclear power plant is a significant addition to clean, domestic production. The plant unit is operated by a Finnish clean energy firm called Teollisuuden Voima (TVO). The company claims the plant will produce energy for at least the next 60 years.

“The production of Olkiluoto 3 stabilizes the price of electricity and plays an important role in the Finnish green transition. The electrification of the society continues, and environmentally friendly electricity production is undoubtedly one of the top trump cards that Finland has,” says President and CEO Jarmo Tanhua.

The reactor alone is expected to meet around 14% of Finland’s electricity demand, reducing the need for imports from Sweden and Norway.

The OL3 nuclear reactor is designed to produce 1,600 MW of electricity, enough to power approximately 2 million households. The construction of the reactor, the country’s first new plant in four decades and Europe’s first in 16 years began in 2005. It was originally scheduled to be completed in 2009, but the project was delayed multiple times due to various technical problems.

The plant unit is intrinsically operated at full power output, and the first annual outages will take place in March 2024.

The test production phase alone comprised some 3,300 tests with more than 9,000 test reports collated. Once the analyses from the latest test production phase are completed, the contractual end of the Olkiluoto 3 project will occur, and the operator will initiate the necessary steps to commence commercial production.