TVO granted licence to operate Olkiluoto nuclear power plant units until the end of 2038
On 20 September 2018, the Finnish Government granted Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) an operating licence under the Nuclear Energy Act for the nuclear power plant units Olkiluoto 1 (OL1) and Olkiluoto 2 (OL2). TVO has now licence to operate the units until the end of 2038. The new licence will replace TVO’s current operating licence from 1998, valid until the end of this year.
TVO was also granted licence to use the current interim storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel and other nuclear waste located at the Olkiluoto site for the interim storage of nuclear waste generated in the operation of the OL1 and OL2 units until the end of 2038.
The now granted operating licence does not cover the operation of final disposal facilities; they are considered separate nuclear facilities and need their own licence. However, the Government attached to the operating licence a set of conditions relating to waste management and spent fuel storage. One of the new conditions allows TVO to use its power plant site to process and store low-level and intermediate-level radioactive waste and other radioactive waste generated elsewhere. The condition was introduced to enable a safe way to process and store certain types of radioactive waste generated in Finland.
When considering whether TVO meets the conditions for granting an operating licence, the Government based its decision especially on the favourable statement and security assessment submitted by the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK). STUK did not identify any safety issues that would prevent the Government from granting the operating licence in the extent described in TVO’s application. TVO’s operations are safe and meet the relevant legislative requirements, according to STUK.
It is important for society that safety authority STUK continues to monitor the safety of nuclear power plants throughout their operations; this ensures the safe operation of nuclear power plant units. On STUK’s proposal, a requirement was included in the licence conditions, stating that the periodic safety review of the OL1 and OL2 units will be conducted by the end of 2028.
The OL1 and OL2 units are water-moderated and water-cooled boiling water reactors, designed based on the Swedish model. They both have an electrical net output of about 890 MW. Commercial electricity generation started in the units in 1979 and 1982, respectively.
Last year, the OL1 and OL2 units generated 24% of the electricity produced in Finland and 16% of the electricity consumed in Finland. The Government’s view is that it is well founded to continue the operations of the Olkiluoto units for reasons of security of electricity supply in Finland. The Finnish industry needs a secure supply of electricity and predictable prices to remain competitive. The continued operation of nuclear power plants will also contribute to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and mitigating climate change in ways that are in society’s best interests.
TVO submitted its operating licence application to the Government on 26 January 2017. To prepare the licence decision, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment requested statements from several ministries and certain other authorities and communities. Altogether 50 authorities, local governments, other organisations and private individuals voiced their opinion. All the statements and opinions submitted and the decision to grant the operating licence are available online on the Ministry’s website at https://tem.fi/olkiluoto-1-ja-2-kayttolupa
Jorma Aurela, Chief Engineer, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 592 2109
Liisa Heikinheimo, Head of the Fuels and Nuclear Energy Unit, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 567 5451