​Waiting for decision on new operating licence for OL1 and OL2 with confidence

14.7.2017

​TVO submitted to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on 26 January a new application for an operating licence for the Olkiluoto 1 and 2 plant units. The currently valid operating licence will expire at the end of 2018. The decision-making body on the licence is the Council of State whose decision is expected by mid-2018.
For Olkiluoto, the application for an operating licence is not just a piece of paper, but an instrument related to the continuity of existing nuclear power plant operations. The application is for a new operating licence for OL1 and OL2 until the end of 2038.

– The licence we have submitted is of truly great significance to TVO. The licence will guarantee the continued operation of units one and two after the year 2018, explains Project Manager Kristiina Rusanen from Teollisuuden Voima.

There is good reason to expect a positive end result and the decision on the licence is waited for with confidence in Olkiluoto.

Capabilities of organisation also under review

The application for the operating licence was accompanied by an extensive and detailed safety assessment submitted to the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) by TVO.  STUK will make its own assessment on the safety of the operation of the plants on the basis of it. The periodic safety assessment which is to be submitted every ten years was last made in 2008.

A project team consisting of almost 30 members was set up for its execution.

Preparations were started in 2009, immediately after the previous periodic safety assessment, but most of the work has been done in the last two years.

"At least 20 more years left"

The safety assessment focused on the technical availability of the plant and the capabilities of the organisation.

The availability of the plant is maintained through service life management. A long-term plan that indicates the major plant modifications to be implemented in the next twenty years has been prepared based on the preventive maintenance and condition monitoring of the components. Also smaller, short-term modifications are considered in service life management.

The assessment showed that from 2018 onwards, both units have at least 20 more years of technical service life left, says Ms. Rusanen.

The capabilities of the organisation were assessed on the basis of internal surveys of the compliance of the organisation and the procedures used by it with the requirements specified for them. Development areas were also identified. The objective is to verify that the personnel have the capabilities required to operate the plant professionally and in accordance with good safety culture.

Documents subject to continuous updating

Ms. Rusanen points out that the assessments are not made only as part of the licence process. The safety documents and procedures of the plant units are subject to continuous updating.
The continuous assurance and improvement of safety are the basic principles according to which the plant units are operated. As part of this, several modifications have been made at the OL1 and OL2 plant units over the years to enhance both their safety and output.

The important thing is to identify the development areas that are the most significant with respect to safety. This is completely independent from the ongoing operating licence process. An additional benefit to be gained from the process is the new safety programme created for the operating licence period starting in 2019.

OL1_OL2

NEW OPERATING LICENCE FOR OL1 AND OL2

  • The currently valid 20-year operating licence of the plant will expire at the end of 2018.
  • TVO submitted to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment a new application for an operating licence in January 2017.
  • The new operating licence is applied for until the end of 2038.
  • The Ministry asked for statements from e.g. STUK, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of the Interior, the municipality of Eurajoki and its neighbouring municipalities.
  • STUK will make a safety assessment to support decision-making: it will assess if the units meet Finnish safety requirements and have adequate security and emergency arrangements in place, and if TVO is able to operate the plant in a safe manner.
  • TVO has made its own safety assessment which was submitted to STUK in December 2016.
  • The licence is granted by the Council of State who will decide on the matter during the first half of 2018.
  • The ongoing major plant modification and modernisation projects are related to the renewal of the operating licence.