Finland’s Fennovoima has stopped dredging work at the site of the Hanhikivi-1 NPP under construction at Pyhjoki after an oil spill on 6 October 2016 resulted in a 200m-long oil slick, the company said in a statement. The spill, of around 300 litres of oil, occurred when a barge being operated by dredging contractor Terramare Ltd was carrying out hydraulic construction work and the hull of the barge hit the ocean floor. Fennovoima said four vessels are carrying out “oil spill response work”. The coast guard centre of the Finnish border guard is in charge of the situation and the work Fennovoima said.

Finland's Terramare Oy began dredging and hydraulic engineering work off the Hanhikivi peninsula in early September. The company was commissioned by Russia's Titan-2 to undertake the engineering work for the harbour, the sea route, and the back-up intake channel for cooling water. Hanhikivi-1, a 1,200MWe VVER pressurised water reactor being supplied by Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom, is scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2024.

Fennovoima project director Minna Forsström said such environmental damage should not be a part of any construction work and is “in no way acceptable”. She said: “We expect Terramare to provide a report of the accident and new guidance for their work procedures at Hanhikivi headland. We will evaluate the report and guidance together with the plant supplier RAOS Project and the main contractor Titan-2. Only if these materials meet our requirements can the dredging work continue.” Titan-2 and Terramare signed the hydraulic construction work contract in July 2016.