Europe’s Largest Nuclear Reactor Starts Regular Production After 18 Years
Europe wants to achieve independence in the energy field, especially after the sanctions imposed by Russia after its attack on Ukraine. Europe’s largest nuclear reactor is important in this sense.
Finland’s much-delayed and Europe’s largest Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor announced early Sunday that it started regular production early Sunday, enhancing energy security in a region where Russia has cut gas and electricity supplies.
Nuclear power remains controversial, particularly in Europe due to security concerns, and the news that OL3 is operational comes at an interesting time. Because Germany announced last Saturday that it was closing its last three reactors. However, on the other hand, Sweden, France and England announced that they were planning new reactors. Therefore, it seems that there is no unity on the nuclear stance in Europe.
OL3 Will Work For At Least 60 Years
The operator of OL3 is Finnish Fortum, and Teollisuuden Voima, which belongs to a consortium of energy and industrial companies, states that the plant alone will meet about 14 percent of Finland’s electricity demand, while significantly reducing energy imports from Sweden and Norway. TVO said in a statement that after the completion of the transition from the test phase to regular production, the new reactor is expected to produce for at least 60 years.
Struggling with Constant Problems
“The generation of Olkiluoto 3 stabilizes the price of electricity and plays an important role in Finland’s green transformation,” TVO Chief Executive Officer Jarmo Tanhua said in a statement. OL3, Finland’s first new nuclear power plant in over forty years and Europe’s first in 18 years, has a power of 1.6 gigawatts (GW). The construction of the reactor started 18 years ago, in 2005. The power plant, which was planned to be completed in 2009, had repeatedly struggled with technical problems and was constantly postponed.
The OL3 first delivered test generation to Finland’s national power grid in March last year and at the time was expected to start regular production four months later, but instead suffered a series of malfunctions and outages that took months to fix. Russia’s electricity exports to Finland ended last May when Russian utility company Inter RAO said it had not been paid for the energy it sold, as a result of the gap opening between Moscow and Europe over the war in Ukraine. Russian Gazprom also stopped natural gas shipments to the Scandinavian country shortly thereafter.