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TVO steps up legal battle over Olkiluoto 3 reactor delays

Legal wrangling between French majority-state owned nuclear constructor Areva and the Finnish power company TVO is escalating, with a new lawsuit filed in a French court. The start-up date for the third unit at the Olkiluoto plant near Pori – already nearly a decade late – remains in doubt.

Olkiluodon ydinvoimala.
The Olkiluoto nuclear power plant in Eurajoki on Finland's west coast. Image: Yle

Finnish nuclear utility TVO has launched legal action in France against plant manufacturer Areva to try to avoid further delays at Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor.

According to the French newspaper Les Echos, the suit has been filed at the Commercial Court of Nanterre, a suburb of Paris.

The company says that Areva has not provided assurances that the Olkiluoto project will be ready to begin production by 2018 as earlier promised. Areva and TVO are already claiming billions of euros from each other because of massive cost overruns and delays on the Olkiluoto 3 project. It was to have begun operations in 2009. The unit is expected to produce about one-tenth of Finland's electricity.

Talks between the two companies aimed at resolving the disputes broke off in May. In January, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said he expected the dispute to be resolved within a month.

Huge Areva-EDF deal hangs in the balance

TVO has also called on the European Commission to help resolve the impasse.

The financially-strapped Areva is majority state-owned. It is now in the process of selling its reactor business to EDF, another majority state-owned energy company.

That takeover is being blocked by the TVO dispute as EDF does not does not want to take on any Olkiluoto-related liabilities.

The Areva-EDF deal is reported to be worth more than 2.5 billion euros.

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