The world’s first EPR, Olkiluoto 3, may not be fully operational until 2014, Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj said in a 12-October statement. However, plant vendor Areva disagrees, telling reporters that fuel loading could start in 2012.
“Based on the latest progress information submitted by the plant supplier Areva-Siemens, TVO estimates that the start of regular operation of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant unit may be postponed until 2014,” TVO said in a statement.
TVO said that main civil construction activities at the site have been completed and primary component installations are close to completion. But it added that further delay in the development of the I&C system, as well as longer than expected piping and electrical works has become critical for the time schedule.
TVO blamed Areva for the delays. “The plant supplier is responsible for the time schedule,” it said. TVO said it expects Areva to provide an updated project overall schedule including a new estimation of the start-up date.
Areva CEO Luc Oursel told Reuters that he was surprised by TVO's announcement.
"We are at this moment working with them on the details of the schedule," Oursel told Reuters. "I am surprised by this premature statement that doesn't correspond to the spirit of the partnership and co-operation that I wish to see on this construction site."
This is an oblique reference to a statement put out by Areva a couple of days earlier, which stated that in an effort to ensure the successful execution of the final phases, including testing, of the project, the AREVA-Siemens consortium and TVO had jointly endorsed in August 2011 the establishment of a shared process to consolidate the OL3 completion schedule. This consolidation process was planned to be finished by the end of the year. The project has experienced a series of problems over the years, mainly from contractual and delivery disputes between the two construction partners, resulting in its falling well behind the original schedule.
In an official Areva statement Jean-Pierre Mouroux, director of the OL3 project, said that: “to carry out proper systems testing for such a facility, total co-operation with the customer is required.”
“At this stage, as the project transitions from construction completion to commissioning and operation of systems, it is expected that TVO assumes a growing role in the successful finalisation of the plant.”