And so Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 reactor continues to grow and along with it, the budget (70 percent over) and time (2-3 years late) until the reactor is complete.
Another thing that’s growing is the number of quality control and safety issues detected during construction. The number we usually quote is 1,500. This week it was revealed that 2,100 quality control and safety issues have been detected.
Finland’s nuclear ambitions continue to grow as well. Despite this week’s news of shortcomings and failures in the construction of Olkiluoto 3, Finnish finance minister Jyrki Katainen said this week that the country should build an additional two nuclear power plants. Don’t try running until you can walk, Jyrki!
Somebody who seems to be growing up the hard way is Areva, the French company building Olkiluoto 3. In an interview with a Swedish news programme, Petteri Tiippana, Assistant Director of Finnish nuclear watchdog STUK, had this to say:
Lack of training, control and guidance of the subcontractors. Each time they [Areva] start something new, there are some sort of challenges that they have not been prepared for. It has taken some time to educate Areva on how things have to be managed in Finland.
‘It has taken some time to educate Areva.’ Imagine having to tell a company that boast of its expertise in building nuclear reactors, ‘no, you don’t do it like that, you do it like this’, like teaching a child to ride a bicycle. With STUK planning to investigate safety at the construction site, it’s a good bet that Areva has more hard lessons to learn.
Still, we’ve all been educated this week, haven’t we? Most notably, we’ve learned that building nuclear power plants is a risky business and we don’t want any more of this nonsense anywhere else in the world.