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New supplier for Fennovoima nuke after Rolls-Royce pullout

After many setbacks, the Finnish-Russian project stills hopes to obtain a construction permit in 2021.

Sosnovyi Borin uuden ydinvoimalan ohjaamo
The control room of the new Sosnovyi Bor reactor, of the same type planned for Pyhäjoki. Image: Timo Sipola / Yle

The Fennovoima consortium, which plans to build Finland's sixth nuclear reactor in Pyhäjoki, northern Finland, has chosen its last main supplier. On Wednesday the firm said it has agreed with the French-German consortium Framatome-Siemens to supply the plant’s main automation, considered the 'brains' of a power plant. It replaces Rolls Royce, which was chosen for the role in 2016 but suddenly withdrew from the beleaguered project last autumn.

Siemens is one of the main suppliers for the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor under construction in Eurajoki, some 450 km south along the west coast from Hanhikivi.

That project is a decade behind schedule, and is now expected to begin generating electricity next summer. Meanwhile its price estimate has nearly tripled from its original 3.2 billion euros.

"Important milestone"

Framatome-Siemens are to supply the main instrumentation and control systems for the proposed Fennovoima plant, known as Hanhikivi 1.

Framatome-Siemens reached the automation deal with the main building contractor Titan-2, founded by former Russian Deputy Defence Minister Grigory Naginsky.

Framatome is to supply the safety automation systems while Siemens has been named as the operational I&C systems supplier.

"[This] I&C contract is an important milestone for the entire Hanhikivi-1 project," Fennovoima Project Director Jouni Takakarhu said in a statement.

"Framatome-Siemens has experience in both Finnish safety requirements and Russian VVER [water-water energetic reactor] technology. Now when all the major suppliers have been selected, the design and licensing work can proceed according to our schedule," he added.

Deal signed at Moscow energy conference

According to Fennovoima COO Timo Okkonen, the company's goal is still to get a construction license in 2021.

"Before that the preliminary safety analysis report must be completed and submitted to [the] Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK). As the related basic design work progresses, we are also preparing for the construction stage. There is still a lot of work to be done to meet the Finnish requirements in preparing the entire supply chain for the construction start,” he says.

STUK has repeatedly warned Fennovoima about its concerns over missing documentation, delays and the company's safety culture.

Titan-2 and Framatome-Siemens signed the agreement at the ongoing Russian Energy Week in Moscow.

Founded in 2007, Fennovoima is 34 percent owned by a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear company Rosatom. The firm, which has so far supplied plants in Russia, Eastern Europe and developing countries, says it hopes that a successful project in Finland would open doors for it in Western markets.

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