The role of low-carbon energy, such as renewable energy and nuclear power, is crucial in the mitigation of climate change. According to the report published by Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) in October 2018 nuclear energy has a pivotal role in prevention of climate change. Nuclear power remains a major part of the energy selection of Finland and the entire EU as we make our way towards a carbon-neutral society. In 2018, the share of nuclear power was about 33 percent of all electricity produced in Finland.
The electricity generation at Teollisuuden Voima Oyj’s (TVO) Olkiluoto nuclear power plant in 2018 totaled 14,1 terawatt hours (billion kilowatt hours), which accounted for about 16 percent of all electricity consumed and about 21 percent of all electricity produced in Finland. The combined load factor of the plant units was 91.1 percent. Together with the share of the Meri-Pori coal-fired power plant TVO's production totaled 14.7 (13.5) TWh, which accounted for about 17 percent of all electricity consumed and about 22 percent of all electricity produced in Finland. The Group’s turnover was EUR 350.3 (320.9) million.
Olkiluoto 1 and 2 plant units are in safe and good production condition. The largest modernization work in TVO’s history was conducted at the plant, and the Company’s safety culture − the base of all operations − was further developed. The refueling and maintenance outages carried out at the plant units on alternating years are designed to ensure that a good level of production and operability is maintained at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant at all times. The annual outages of 2018 at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant were carried out from April 22 to June 23, 2018. Olkiluoto 2 (OL2) had a refueling outage taking more than 13 days. Olkiluoto 1 (OL1) underwent a major maintenance outage that included replacement of the main internal pumps and their frequency converters, renewal of turbine condensers, installation of a new alternative coolant injection system, high-pressure drain forward pumping, and replacement of the high-pressure preheaters and feedwater distributors. A containment leak-tightness test was also carried out. The outage of OL1 unit took approximately 41 days. As a result of the modifications carried out, the nominal output of OL1 was increased at the turn of the year from 880 megawatts to 890 megawatts.
In January 2017, TVO submitted to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment an application for a new operating licence for the Olkiluoto 1 and 2 plant units and the Government granted the licence for the next 20 years on 20 September 2018.
A comprehensive settlement agreement on Olkiluoto 3 EPR (OL3 EPR) project was signed between TVO and the plant supplier consortium companies on March 2018. The agreement entered into force in the same month. The settlement agreed on delayed completion of OL3 EPR project, costs of delay and confirmation of completion of the project.
Preparing the Olkiluoto 3 EPR plant unit for production proceeded in 2018. Training of the operating personnel has progressed and first operators were licenced by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in December 2018. The hot functional tests (HFT) of the plant unit were completed in May 2018. During HFT, the reactor and turbine units were co-operated as one entity for the first time.
According to the schedule updated by the Plant Supplier in November 2018, regular electricity production at the OL3 EPR plant unit will commence in January 2020. According to the Supplier, nuclear fuel will be loaded into the reactor in June 2019 and the plant unit will be connected to the grid for the first time in October 2019.
The excavation work of Posiva’s final disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel at Olkiluoto have progressed according to plan. Posiva commenced full-scale in-situ system test (FISST) in its final disposal demonstration facilities in June 2018. The objective of the FISST is to demonstrate that safe final disposal concept of spent nuclear fuel can be implemented as designed by Posiva. Excavation of the vehicle access tunnels leading to the final disposal facility, technical rooms and excavation of the central tunnel for the integrated systems test have been completed.
At the end of the year, the total number of personnel in the Group was 878 (807). The number of personnel working for Posiva and its subsidiary Posiva Solutions Oy was 85 (80). Past year was the largest recruitment year in the history of the TVO Group: a total of 134 new staff members were recruited during 2018.