The 12-year-delayed nuclear forerunner of Hinkley Point C is expected to be pumping power into its nation’s grid late next month, according to an industry report.
Olkiluoto 3, Finland’s first new nuclear plant for 40 years, is a template for the EPR (European pressurised water reactor) design favoured by the Franco-Chinese partnership behind the Somerset plant.
Finnish operator Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) initially expected EdF-owned Areva and co-developers Siemens to have the 1.6 GW plant on line in 2009. But flaws in its design mired it in lengthy arbitration between lawyers.
The plant, on an island in the Gulf of Bothnia, this month received its first accreditation from Finland’s nuclear safety authority. TVO hopes to have it generating at 25% capacity late in January, with full power timetabled for June. It is rated to supply 15% of Finland’s electricity.
Chinese nuclear engineers CGN have a 20% stake behind EdF, owner of 75% of Areva, in the £23 billion Hinkley C project, set to debut in 2026. CGN are also interested in building Sizewell C in Essex. But new financing rules outlined two months ago have opened the way potentially for the UK government to replace overseas backers for nuclear projects.
Meanwhile Rolls-Royce have announced that a £ 85 million commitment from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund leaves its small reactor venture fully funded.
The Qataris’ 10% stake has unlocked £210 million in grants from the UK government’s Research and Innovation fund. Under CEO Tom Samson, the newly formed Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd will now undertake further design and accreditation towards building plants of up to 470 MWe, based on adapted PWR designs.
Rolls-Royce have officially named no sites for SMRs. But the parent previously indicated a “pretty high probability” that Trawsfynydd in north Wales, site of a Magnox station closed in 1991, could be one.
On Anglesey, Wylfa Newydd is a second possibility. Hitachi-subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power withdrew in September 2020 from plans for a 2.8 GW project.