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Finland's long-delayed Olkiluoto three nuclear reactor granted license

Kitco News

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland granted an operating permit to allow the long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor to start production in 2020, the country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment said on Thursday.

The ministry’s permit is a key milestone for the 1.6 gigawatt reactor. Finland is a net power-importer and wants to reduce its electricity dependency on Russia and Sweden.

“Today we can state that the facility is ready and it fulfils Finland’s requirements,” Kimmo Tiilikainen, Finland’s Minister for energy, housing and environment, told a news conference.

The facility’s owner, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), has waited for more than ten years for the delivery of the third unit by Areva, now renamed Orano.

“The granted operating license proves that Olkiluoto 3 was built to be safe and that TVO is able to operate it safely and responsibly,” TVO Chief Executive Jarmo Tanhua told the news conference.

Olkiluoto 3 still requires a final license from the country’s nuclear safety regulator STUK, to allow it to load fuel and start production.

STUK said in February that operator TVO and the plant’s supplier needed to fix a safety issue in a component of the reactor’s pressurizer before it could grant that license.

TVO said at the time that it had chosen a solution and the malfunctioning equipment would be fixed within months.

Writing by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos in Oslo, editing by Gwladys Fouche and Elaine Hardcastle

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