Teollisuuden Voima Oy, the owner of the Finnish nuclear plant that is currently being built by Areva and Siemens, has said that the consortium has informed it that the construction is running behind schedule as the need to satisfy the advanced safety features of the reactor building of the new plant is more demanding than they had initially anticipated.

Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO) said that it has been informed that the main civil construction works for the reactor building of the Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) third-generation nuclear power plant will continue until winter 2009, while these works had been planned to be completed after summer 2008. This is because fortifying the reactor building against an air plane crash is taking longer than anticipated by Areva and Siemens in their contractual agreement.

TVO said that the additional time required for the civil construction works will undoubtedly impact upon the start of some of the erection and installation works. Martin Landtman, the OL3 project director, said that TVO is disappointed to learn about the setbacks. However, Mr Landtman added that key issue is to achieve the safety and quality requirements.

The company will now discuss with Siemens and Areva their plans for mitigating the delays, and for the completion of the remaining works. TVO said that it will not be able to make any further announcements about when the plant will be finished until it has had this discussion with the construction firms.

Mr Landtman revealed that although this announcement may not take place until the end of civil construction, which could be in 2009, it is likely that the new reported delays in the construction works will postpone the start of commercial operation of the plant until 2011.

According to the Financial Times, although Areva has refused to comment on the project’s expenses, it is thought that the nuclear project is already approximately E700 million over the agreed budget of E3 billion.

The Financial Times also speculated that the delays could severely impair the French construction firm’s chances of negotiating a contract for a nuclear power plant in China.