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OL3 tests continue after Christmas, full production postponed to March

Full electricity production at Finland's newest nuclear reactor has been hampered by constant delays.

Olkiluoto 1, 2 ja 3-reaktorit.
The Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor has faced a series of delays. Image: Benjamin Suomela / Yle
Yle News

The testing of electricity production at Finland's newest nuclear reactor, Olkiluoto 3, will resume after Christmas, on Tuesday 27 December, according to a statement by the facility's operator Teollisuuden Voima (TVO).

The reactor is expected to begin generating electricity during the trial period, during which an estimated 1.3 terawatt hours of electricity will be produced.

Full electricity production at the facility has now been pushed back to 8 March 2023, having been delayed multiple times during the past few months. Previously, regular energy production was scheduled for January of next year, and prior to that TVO had set dates of January 2022, July, September and before the end of this year.

The most recent delays have been caused by damage to the reactor's feedwater pumps, with TVO announcing that the inspection is now almost complete.

"The cracks in the impellers have most likely been caused by the test production, where the pumps are used in abnormal circumstances," the company said in a tweet.

Olkiluoto 3, a 1.6-gigawatt European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR), was granted a construction permit in 2005 and it was originally scheduled to be completed in 2009. However, the project has faced a seemingly endless series of technical problems, delays, cost overruns and legal disputes.

Regular electricity production at Olkiluoto 3 has a significant impact on Finland's electricity self-sufficiency.

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