Olkiluoto 3, the third nuclear reactor of Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant, is expected to start regular electricity production in April, according to Teollisuuden Voima (TVO). The unit may end up being the last large reactor unit to be built in Finland, views a professor of energy technology at LUT University in Lappeenranta. (Roni Lehti – Str / Lehtikuva)


THE THIRD REACTOR of Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant is regrettably large for the power transmission grid of Finland, estimates Juhani Hyvärinen, a professor of energy technology at LUT University in Lappeenranta.

“I personally think that smaller units are better,” he stated on YLE A-studio on Monday.

Hyvärinen explained that starting up and rapidly shutting down such a large unit will cause a fairly notable disturbance to the grid. Although it is possible to prepare and withstand such disturbances, the effects of starting up or shutting down a smaller unit would be much smaller and easier to manage.

Globally there is still demand for reactors as large as the 1,600-megawatt Olkiluoto 3. It remains to be seen, however, whether additional large units will be built in Finland, according to Hyvärinen.

Fortum and Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), the owner of Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant, are presently exploring future nuclear power projects. Helen, the energy company of the City of Helsinki, has similarly indicated its interest in nuclear power.

TVO also laid out plans for a fourth reactor unit in the early 2010s, but the project was shelved as the commissioning of the third unit was delayed. CEO Jarmo Tanhua stated to the public broadcasting company that binders concerning studies of the possible fourth unit remain “on the shelf”.

“Of course we’re also looking into the possibility of small modular reactors. We’re open to everything,” he said, adding that the schedule of future projects remains open.

“Any kind of plant will take its time,” he reminded. “It’s important to make sure that the legislation is in order and, naturally, the technology must be there.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT