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Fennovoima selects Toshiba but keeps options open

25 февраля 2013
Industry news

Finland’s Fennovoima has launched a study into the possibility of building a mid-sized nuclear reactor at Hanhikivi despite inviting Toshiba to take part in “direct negotiations” about proposals for a 1600 MWe boiling water reactor at the site.

Two commercial bids were submitted for the planned single-unit plant near Pyhäjoki on the western coast of Finland in January 2012: Toshiba’s EU-ABWR and Areva’s EPR advanced pressurised water reactor. Negotiations have been ongoing with both companies, who submitted final updates on their bids in January. As a result of its evaluations, Fennovoima’s board of directors has now decided to terminate the bidding process and instead to proceed with a new supplier selection process. The company has accordingly elected to continue direct negotiations about the 1600 MWe EU-ABWR with Toshiba, starting immediately.

However, in parallel to the negotiations on the 1600 MWe unit, Fennovoima has also started work on a two-stage process to assess whether a mid-sized unit would be a better option. The first phase, a survey, is to be completed by the end of March 2013. It will comprise a preliminary assessment of different alternatives for a single-unit light water reactor of 1000–1300 MWe capacity and will include technical feasibility, licensability, economic and financial feasibility and project schedule. A second, bidding, phase in which the company will invite bids from the options it decides are suitable would follow, with a detailed schedule agreed on a case-by-case basis.

Recent changes in Fennovoima’s ownership structure have prompted the decision to look into mid-sized reactors, the company notes, while emphasising that the “current owners’ need for Fennovoima’s electricity has not changed.” Voimaosakeyhtiö SF recently assumed full control of the company after purchasing the 34% stake formerly owned by Germany’s EOn. Voimaosakeyhtiö SF is a co-operative of 67 firms including municipal utilities and various other companies from trade and industry.

The reactor must fulfil Finnish safety requirements and all other requirements of the Finnish authorities. Fennovoima says it regards mid-sized reactors from Toshiba, Areva and Rosatom as potentially suitable alternatives, although notes that “other suppliers and reactors” may be considered.

Fennovoima has not elaborated further on the reactors that will be included in its survey phase, although it has previously taken Areva’s 1290 MWe Kerena BWR into consideration as a possible option for the Hanhikivi plant.

Toshiba Power Systems vice president Kiyoshi Okamura said the company would be able to respond to Fennovoima’s needs and could offer a 1300 MWe EU-ABWR as well as a 1600 MWe unit. “We would be very pleased to provide our most advanced EU-ABWR equipment and to contribute to ensuring the long-term stability of Finland’s power supply,” he said.

Finland’s four operating nuclear reactors include both boiling water and pressurised water reactors. Areva is currently building a 1600 MWe EPR at Olkiluoto 3, but construction of Finland’s fifth nuclear unit has been subject to delays which have seen the anticipated start-up date pushed back from 2013 to 2016. TVO is also planning to build a fourth unit at Olkiluoto, although no decision on a vendor has yet been made.

Whether it decides to go for a large or mid-sized reactor, Fennovoima says it intends to select a plant supplier for Hanhikivi during 2013.

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