New nuclear plant gets government green light for operations

The new reactor near Rauma is expected to last 60 years, and produce up to 15% of Finland's electricity needs.

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File picture of Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant / Credit: Tapio Karjanlahti

The government has issued an operating license to Teollisuuden Voima TVO to run the new Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power unit near Rauma on Finland’s west coast.

When it begins producing electricity in early 2020, it will be the largest nuclear power plant in the Nordic and Baltic region, with an annual output that will cover 15% of Finland’s electricity needs.

The project has been beset by problems, and its opening is about ten years behind schedule.

Before electricity production begins, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK will monitor the final preparations and perform inspections at the plant, which has an expected lifetime of 60 years.

“The most important thing in using nuclear power is to take care of the safety of the plant. It is the responsibility of the licensee Teollisuuden Voima and STUK’s role as an authority to monitor this” says Environment Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre).

When Olkiluoto 3 starts producing energy, it will significantly reduce the country’s energy deficit, reduce the dependency on imported energy, and improve emission-free energy distribution.

“We must do everything we can to combat climate change. The long-awaited deployment of Olkiluoto 3 will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Almost 80% of Finland’s electricity production is emission-free. The new nuclear power unit will raise this share to about 85 percent” says Tiilikainen.