Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) has pre-selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) for the bidding process to build the utility’s proposed fourth reactor unit at the Olkiluoto nuclear power station (OL4) on Finland’s west coast. GEH will enter its economic simplified boiling water reactor (ESBWR), claimed to be the world’s safest available reactor design based on industry standards. The invitation follows the signing in February by TVO and GEH of a licensing feasibility study contract.

“This is a testament to our ESBWR technology, said Danny Roderick, senior vice president of new plant projects for GEH. We are already working with our project partners and mobilising the supply chain to prepare an extremely competitive, attractive and comprehensive proposal to support TVO’s technology, schedule, and budget requirements.” GEH is partnering with Fluor Corporation to jointly prepare the bid. In January, GEH signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Space Systems Finland Ltd. (SSF), which specialises in the validation and verification of safety critical software for various industrial sectors, including the aerospace and utility industries.

The ESBWR, says GEH, features passive safety, simple design, and proven advanced modular construction methods. In particular, it will benefit from extensive construction experience gained from the company’s advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) new-build projects in Japan and Taiwan. ESBWR’s passive safety features allow the reactor to cool itself without the use of AC electrical power or human actions for more than seven days, and after that, only simple actions are necessary to maintain cooling.

Finland has four nuclear reactors that supply nearly 30 percent of the country’s electricity, according to the World Nuclear Association. In July 2010, Finland’s parliament ratified “Decisions in Principle” for the construction of two additional reactors, including Olkiluoto-4 project.