Tue. May 21st, 2024
nuclear reactor

Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), the operator of Finland’s much-delayed Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor, has announced that the plant will begin regular output on Sunday. This comes as good news for the region, which has experienced cuts to gas and power supplies from Russia. While nuclear power remains controversial in Europe due to safety concerns, several countries including Sweden, France, and Britain plan to develop new nuclear plants.

OL3 is expected to meet around 14% of Finland’s electricity demand, which will reduce the need for imports from Sweden and Norway. The 1.6 gigawatt (GW) reactor is Finland’s first new nuclear plant in over four decades and Europe’s first in 16 years. Its construction began in 2005, and the plant was originally due to open in 2009 but was plagued by technical issues.

In March last year, OL3 first supplied test production to Finland’s national power grid, and it was expected to begin regular output four months later. However, a series of breakdowns and outages caused delays, which took months to fix.

The startup of OL3 will enable Finland to expect lower electricity costs, as it is the only Nordic country with a significant power deficit. Russia’s power exports to Finland ended last May, after Russian utility Inter RAO claimed that it had not been paid for the energy it sold, a result of the widening gulf between Moscow and Europe over the war in Ukraine. Following this, Russian state export monopoly Gazprom ceased shipments of natural gas to Finland.

Despite the controversy surrounding nuclear power, the startup of OL3 is a positive development for Finland, which will improve its energy security and reduce its reliance on imports.

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