Cracks in the nuclear showcase

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Courtesy of European Energy Review (EER)

Finland’s new nuclear power project is in a crisis. Delivery has been delayed by 3 years and costs have risen 50%. Still, the government has received applications for three more new nuclear plants. The Minister of Energy says Finland needs ‘zero additional reactors, or at most just one.’

Petteri Tiippana is standing in front of the design for OL3, Europe’s youngest nuclear power reactor, which has been under construction on the island of Olkiluoto on the Finnish Baltic coast since August 2005. The completed parts of the huge construction are highlighted in green on the drawings. The assistant director of Projects and Operative Safety with the state regulatory authority STUK (Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority) points to the reactor building, the green highlight covers about two thirds of the building and Tiippana states matter of factly that: ‘Actually OL3 was meant to have been connected to the grid in three months and as you can see, the reactor building is not only missing the consoles on top of which the Polar crane will be installed, there is also no roof.’ After a pause he then goes on: ‘And we don’t even have the drawings for it yet.’

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