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Olkiluoto 1 reactor shuts down due to faulty fuel rods

The nuclear power plant's operator, TVO, says the small leak does not pose a threat to the public or staff.

Olkuluodon ydinvoimala.
Image: Hannu Huovila / TVO

One unit of Olkiluoto nuclear power plant on Finland's west coast is being shut down due to a slight radioactive leak into the container water. Its owner, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), says there is no health or environmental risk.

Some employees' radiation exposure levels for this year will have to be adjusted though. 

Faulty fuel rods were discovered at the Olkiluoto 1 unit in Eurajoki, western Finland, which dates back to 1978.

The facility's electrical production manager, Mikko Kosonen, describes the situation as unfortunate but not serious.

"There have been about 40 similar situations since the reactor began operations," he says – or an average of nearly once a year.

The unit will be offline for about a week beginning on Monday.

Imports from Russia and Estonia needed

National power grid operator Fingrid estimates that will cut Finland's overall electricity supply by about 10 percent.

Extra electricity will likely have to be imported from Russia and/or Estonia, says Fingrid planning director Timo Kaukonen.

"Imports from Sweden are completely maxed out at the moment. There's not really anything else available from that direction," he told Yle on Friday afternoon.

Olkiluoto's first two reactors were built in the 1970s. Its third unit is expected to begin production in December 2018, some nine years behind schedule.

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