OL3 reactor , Source: Tapani Karjanlahti / TVO

Finland will house the largest nuclear reactor in Europe

Finland will house the largest nuclear reactor in Europe

The Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear power plant unit has finally been granted a charging permit

On Friday 26 March, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) gave permission to charge and fuel the Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear power plant unit in Eurajoki, Southwest Finland. By issuing a charging permit, the STUK verifies that the reactor has met safety requirements.

“The most important thing in the use of nuclear power is to take care of the safety of the plant. Safety is not compromised at any stage during the construction and commissioning process of nuclear power units. As the licensee of the TVO plant, it is responsible for its safety, and STUK's task as an authority is to supervise this,” commented the Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.

In a press release, the Finnish government reported that the operation of OL3 is considered to begin with its first refuelling. Following this, it will gradually become connected to the country’s electricity grid. The regular commercial operation of the unit is expected to start in February 2022.

Clean electricity production

The OL3 unit is projected to significantly reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Lintilä explained this, saying: “We need a lot more clean and secure electricity when the domestic industry becomes electrified. The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority’s charging permit for the Olkiluoto 3 unit is a step towards large-scale clean energy production, which will reduce Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated several million tonnes.”

In addition to this, the OL3 will become the largest nuclear reactor in Europe. With an electricity generation capacity of 1,600 megawatts, it is also expected to be the largest in the Nordic and Baltic electricity markets.

The construction of the reactor began in 2005 and it was expected to be completed by 2009. However, due to numerous delays caused by faulty components and safety tests, this date was pushed back. Now, the nuclear power plant unit has finally been granted its charging permit and it is expected to produce approximately 14% of Finland’s electricity.



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