Finnish utility Fortum has terminated a contract with a consortium of Areva and Siemens that was carrying out the modernisation of automation systems at its Loviisa nuclear power plant in southern Finland. The consortium will complete the ongoing agreed and resized work, but Fortum has now signed an agreement with Rolls-Royce for completion of the project, which under the new contract is due in 2018. R-R automation systems have been deployed in more than 200 NPPs worldwide.

"When we started the second phase of the modernisation (with Areva-Siemens), it appeared that the implementation would have been taken too long," said Tiina Tuomela, Fortum’s nuclear power executive. She did not specify the reasons for the delays to work on the Loviisa reactors, which meet about a tenth of Finland’s power needs and generated 8 TWh in 2013. But she did emphasise that the decision to bring in Rolls-Royce had nothing to do with problems at the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant, where Areva-Siemens is also the main supplier, which has been hit by repeated delays and soaring costs.

The modernisation project was intended to secure the safe and reliable operation of the power plant until the end of the plant’s operational licences. Unit 1 has an operational licence to 2027 and unit 2 to 2030.

Fortum also hopes to develop a new reactor at Loviisa, but the plan has so far been rejected by Finnish legislators. The current five-party ruling coalition, including the Green party, has said it will not approve new nuclear permits, but Tuomela said Fortum hoped to get a go-ahead from the next government, due to be formed next year.