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TVO: We don't know when Olkiluoto 3 will be ready

A French-built nuclear reactor on Finland's west coast was originally scheduled to begin operations in 2009 -- but there is still no clear end in sight.

Olkiluodon ydinvoimalan rakennustyömaa
Areva workers have been toiling in Eurajoki for nearly a decade. Image: Yle

The utility company TVO says it cannot give an estimate of when the long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power reactor will begin operations. TVO has been waiting for information about the completion process from French contractor Areva for two months.

The reactor is being built alongside two others and an underground waste storage site on an island in the west-coast municipality of Eurajoki.

“We’ve asked the contractor for a timetable estimate, and have been waiting for it since the beginning of the year,” TVO communications director Pasi Tuohimaa told Yle. “As long as we don’t get that, we can’t make a precise estimate of OL3’s completion schedule.”

Areva has not informed TVO about why the estimate has been delayed.

Costs nearly triple

The entire project was originally to have been completed by 2009. Construction began in 2005, but a year ago TVO said it was "preparing for the possibility" that OL3 might not go online until 2016. Meanwhile the budget has ballooned from three to at least 8.5 billion euros.

“This is of course a difficult situation for them as well,” said Tuohimaa. “We both share the goal completing OL3 as soon as possible, though. TVO has a turnkey contract, so for us the price of the facility is what it is. But the time that it is off the national grid naturally has a cost.”

TVO and the Areva-Siemens consortium have been suing each other for billions of euros in lost income.

On Thursday, Areva shares plunged by more than 14 percent after it reported a net loss for the third year running.

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