HELSINKI (Reuters) – The start of regular power production at Finland’s biggest nuclear reactor Olkiluoto 3 will be pushed back another five months to May 2019, owner Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said on Monday, the latest in a decade of delays.
The project in western Finland, built by a consortium led by French state-owned nuclear group Areva, has been hit by repeated delays, soaring costs and court disputes.
Originally planned to start in 2009, its most recent target for regular power production had been the end of 2018.
TVO said many important tests at the plant were yet to be carried out and Areva needed to allocate the necessary resources to the project.
“We are very disappointed by this additional delay. There is still substantial work to be accomplished in the project,” TVO project director Jouni Silvennoinen said.
An Areva spokesman said the reactor would produce its first power at the end of 2018, but the ramp-up to full production would delay the commercial start-up to May 2019.
He said hot-testing would start in December 2017, nuclear fuel would be loaded in August 2018, first grid connection would be in December 2018 and the commercial start would be May 2019.
Last month, TVO filed an appeal to the European Commission over France’s restructuring of its nuclear industry, saying Areva, which is selling its nuclear reactor business to utility EDF (EDF.PA), could be unable to meet its liabilities in Finland.