TVO anticipates loading fuel into OL3 in late 2018
20 April 2018
Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) said it plans to start loading fuel into the core of the Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) EPR in the autumn, once an operating licence has been granted. However, the company said it is awaiting confirmation from the Areva-Siemens consortium that start-up of the unit is still scheduled for May 2019.
TVO said in the April edition of its newsletter that a total of 128 tonnes of fuel for the EPR has been delivered to the Olkiluoto site in southwest Finland. It noted, "There's a lot of work still to be done both before loading and after."
Hot functional tests at the first-of-a-kind EPR began in December. TVO noted these are the first tests at plant-level where the reactor and turbine plant are operated as a whole, although still without fuel. It said the water temperature and the pressure of the primary circuit have been gradually increased to the level where they would be during actual operation. During the hot testing stage, more than 200 systematic tests will be carried out, TVO said.
"Once this stage has been successfully completed, a safety assessment is expected from the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority and, thereafter, the decision by the Finnish government on the operating licence," the company said. "Once the operating licence has been granted, steps will be taken towards loading the fuel."
TVO said it anticipates loading the 241 fuel assemblies into the 1600 MWe pressurised water reactor in the autumn.
"That does not mean the immediate start of electricity production," TVO noted. "Testing will continue after the loading. In the autumn, some of the tests already carried out during the hot testing in the spring will be repeated." One reason for repeating these tests, it said, was that the loading of fuel into the reactor affects the circulation of the cooling water.
Under the latest schedule for Olkiluoto 3, grid connection takes place in December, with the start of regular electricity production in May next year. The unit's ramp-up programme will see it produce 2-4 TWh of electricity, at varying power levels between those dates.