HELSINKI (AP) — Finland’s long-delayed and expensive new nuclear reactor went online Saturday in hopes it will bolster the Nordic country’s electrical self-sufficiency and help meet its carbon-neutral goals.
Finnish operator Teollisuuden Voima said the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor in the west of the country has started supplying electricity to the national power grid.
It will go through a trial period of about four months during which it will only produce electricity at a fraction of its 1,600 megawatt capacity.
The reactor will reach its maximum capacity in July when it covers about 14% of Finland’s total electricity demand, reducing the country’s need to import electricity from Norway, Russia and Sweden, said Teollisuuden Voima.
The last time a new nuclear reactor was commissioned in Finland was more than 40 years ago. Olkiluoto 3 is one of the first new reactors in Western Europe for more than a decade.
Olkiluoto 3 is a third-generation European-type pressurized water reactor developed and built by a joint venture between France’s Areva and Germany’s Siemens. Construction began in 2005 and was to be completed four years later. However, the project was plagued with several technological issues that led to lawsuits.
Finnish public broadcaster YLE said late last year that the final price for the reactor was estimated at around 11 billion euros ($12 billion), nearly three times higher than originally estimated. .
Finland now has five nuclear reactors in two power plants located on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Together they cover more than 40% of Finland’s electricity demand.
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