Monday, September 1, 2014

Finland Nuclear Plant Delayed Yet Again

Subtitle: Four Year Construction Time More Than Tripled

The 1,600 MWe nuclear power plant under construction in Olkiluoto, Finland, is now delayed so much that first power production is not expected until sometime in 2018.  That is 9 years later than the original schedule, with a 13 year project construction time.  See link to the Finnish utility's website, TVO, and the announcement.  

This is yet more evidence that the nuclear power industry cannot deliver what they promise: the plant is not only years and years behind schedule, it is billions of Euros over budget.  

This plant has been the subject of previous SLB articles, see here, here, here, and here

This plant is designed for 1,600 MWe output, in an attempt to attain lower costs from economy of scale.  Larger plants can have lower production costs, and in many industries these economies are achieved.   But, with nuclear power plants, this does not seem to be the case.  Any economy of scale is surely obliterated by the increased financing costs on construction loans over a 13 year (2018-2005) construction period, plus escalations from inflation for materials, services, and labor.   These concepts are explored in some detail in Part Six of Truth About Nuclear Power (see link). 

The truth about the Finland reactor is that four more years are required, at least are now estimated as required, before startup.  Four years is a long time, and many more mistakes and problems can occur.  The plant may very well not see first production in 2018, but will likely be delayed much more.  

The reality is that, even after 50 years or more of design, development, actual experience, fine-tuning, and making best efforts around the world, nuclear power (as of 2011 per EIA statistics, see TANP part 11) provides only 11.7 percent of all power world-wide.   The only technologies smaller than nuclear’s share are oil (4.8 percent) and a catch-all category (4.5 percent) that includes wind, solar, geothermal, and various other renewable power.   One would expect that nuclear, if it were truly a superior technology economically and safe, would have easily surpassed coal, natural gas, and hydroelectric power (41, 22, and 16 percent approximately, respectively).

Roger E. Sowell, Esq. 
Marina del Rey, California

Copyright (c) 2014 by Roger Sowell  -- All rights reserved

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