Following the news in late July that there had been a ‘small’ fire at the construction site of Finland’s state of the art Olkiluoto 3 reactor, it looks as if things were worse than first thought. From Finnish State Broadcasting YLE News we hear:

A fire at the construction site of Olkiluoto's third nuclear reactor caused extensive damage. The outer wall structures as well as those of the inner wall were affected.

Major concreting operations will be needed to repair the damage, Satakunnan Kansa, a regional newspaper has learned. The reactor building that is currently under construction was ravaged by a fire last Wednesday, and repair work is believed to take months.

The head of the department responsible for the oversight of new nuclear power plant projects in Finnish nuclear safety authority STUK, Petteri Tiippana told that preliminary inspections have revealed damage in the structures of both the inner and the outer wall. STUK has not yet been able to determine whether the fire caused deeper damage or even cracks to the wall structures, in addition to harming the surface of the concrete.

Except for the reactor building, construction work has proceeded normally despite the fire. There is no certainty yet on what caused the accident.

There is a pattern with news management from the nuclear industry. Their first instinct is to downplay the seriousness of an incident (in this case the spin that the fire was ‘small’) followed by further stories stating that things are much worse than first admitted. It was much the same with the uranium leak at Tricastin. Is it any wonder we can’t take the nuclear industry at its word?