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Minister of Economic Affairs Lintilä: Olkiluoto 3’s fuel loading permit a decisive step towards increased clean electricity production

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 26.3.2021 9.50
Press release
Photo: Tapani Karjanlahti

On 26 March 2021, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) granted a fuel loading permit to Teollisuuden Voima Oyj’s Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in Eurajoki. The use of the new unit is considered to start when the first batch of fuel is loaded into the reactor, after which the unit will be connected to the main grid in phases and become part of the Finnish and Nordic electricity markets. According to the company, regular commercial electricity production at the plant will start in February 2022.

The Finnish Government granted an operating licence under section 20 of the Nuclear Energy Act to the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant unit on 7 March 2019. The licence will remain in effect until 31 December 2038. For the past two years, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) has conducted system testing to finalise the plant. 

“With Finland’s industry electrifying, we need significantly more clean and reliable electricity. STUK’s fuel loading permit for Olkiluoto 3 is a decisive step towards large-scale production of clean electricity, which is estimated to reduce Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions by several million tonnes. What is more, the share of Finnish electricity production that is emissions-free will already rise to 90%,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä. 

“The most important thing with nuclear power is to ensure the safety of the power plant. During the construction and commissioning of the plant, safety has not ever been, and will not be, compromised. As licence holder of the plant, TVO is responsible for its safety, while STUK is in charge of supervision,” minister Lintilä adds.

Under the terms of the operating licence, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment must confirm that the company has arranged to undertake the costs of nuclear waste management in accordance with the provisions of chapter 7 of the Nuclear Energy Act. In February 2021, TVO provided the State with a collateral to cover its waste management obligation when the plant’s operations start. The collateral has been transferred to the State Treasury for safekeeping. 

Olkiluoto 3 is the first nuclear power plant in the world to have a fully designed and operational waste management system ready at the commissioning stage. The spent fuel of the plant will be placed in the bedrock of Olkiluoto in Posiva’s final disposal facility – the first of its kind in the world. The plant’s planned operating life is at least 60 years. However, the unit’s technical life may be considerably longer.

With a power generation capacity of 1,600 megawatts, Olkiluoto 3 will become the largest power plant in the Nordic and Baltic countries and the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. When it operates at full capacity, the plant can produce approximately 13 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity per year. Olkiluoto 3 will increase the annual domestic electricity production to nearly 80 TWh. At the same time, the share of nuclear power in Finland’s electricity production will rise to more than 40%. According to the energy industry, approximately 66 TWh of electricity was produced and 81 TWh was consumed in Finland in 2020.

Teppo Säkkinen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, tel. +358 50 516 2868 050 516 2868
Liisa Heikinheimo, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7035
Riku Huttunen, Director General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 431 6518
Jaakko Louvanto, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 8274

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