The best time to plan(t) a nuclear facility

Olkiluoto 3, the long-awaited Finish EPR nuclear power plant, started producing electricity on March 12th. It will be commencing with a phase of testing its power production and so will operate at reduced power for a few months. Once power output is increased to full capacity, OL3 will be able to generate 1,600 MWs, providing approximately 14% of Finland’s electricity demand and significantly increasing Finland’s domestic electricity supply, just as Russian natural gas deliveries are being boycotted as a result of its war with Ukraine.

No one planning Olkiluoto could have foreseen this war and the dire straits it has put most of Europe under, as a result of Russian aggression against Ukraine. With so many EU countries dependent upon delivery of Russian oil and gas—notably Germany, Austria and Poland—the ability of Finland to further reduce its own need for Russian gas or oil supplies for electricity, is incredibly timely, as it will help shift demand and further reduce purchases from Russia.

Of course, significant construction delays and cost increases were harshly criticized for years by members of the press and public, many of whom considered the construction of this plant a mistake. In fact, many of the naysayers who oppose nuclear insist that nuclear is both too expensive and takes too long to be of help in our efforts to decarbonize. Yet, with emissions still on the rise, neither can they cannot point to a single large developed nation which has succeeded in decarbonizing without either an abundance of hydro, geothermal or nuclear power. The completion of Olkiluoto 3 and the start of its operations may have come later than hoped but it is, in terms of addressing the exigencies of climate change and the outrages of Putin, it is just on time.


Read more about the startup of OL3 at The Olkiluoto 3 EPR plant unit’s electricity production has started, March 12, 2022.  Interested observers may follow the plants energy production performance at TVO’s website at www.tvo.fi/ol3forecast.