Construction of the Olkiluoto 3 EPR project in Finland is expected to be completed in mid-2016, with operations starting in 2018, according to an updated schedule from the AREVA-Siemens consortium building the plant.

AREVA says that the principal driver of recent delays to the project has been the reactor instrumentation & control (I&C) system approval, which was granted in April 2014, after a four-year period of exchanges with TVO, the plant owner.

The approval of I&C architecture gave the consortium a "key visibility element" to schedule the completion of the project, AREVA said. But it noted that the schedule is based on key assumptions and commitments concerning TVO’s cooperation as the owner of the plant.

"From the beginning of the project, the role of the owner is essential to the progress on the project, for example to facilitate the review of technical and safety matters by STUK [the Finnish nuclear regulator], even more during the commissioning phase which is to come," AREVA said.

Detailed workshops are planned with TVO to optimise the commissioning ‘over the coming months,’ it added.

From a financial standpoint, AREVA said that the updated schedule has no impact on the Olkiluoto 3 contract’s loss at completion for AREVA, which stood at 3.9 billion Euros as of 30 June 2014.

TVO said it would evaluate the revised schedule, but finds it difficult to accept.

"It is hard for us to accept such a late start-up forecast given by the Supplier because the completion degree is high, the completed works fulfil very high technical standards and we know what the remaining works are, said Jouni Silvennoinen, SVP OL3 Project.

Construction of OL3 began in spring 2005, with the start of electricity production anticipated in spring 2009.

The AREVA & Siemens consortium is continuing to pursue its claims in the arbitration procedure concerning responsibility for the delays to the project with the objective to obtain compensation for the losses incurred.

Photo: OL3 nuclear power plant (Credit: Hannu Huovila/TVO)