Two third-generation nuclear power reactors will begin operation this year in Finland and France, after years of delays and budget overruns, S&P Platts’ reported.
The Finnish project is the Olkiluoto-3 reactor, which will bring the country’s total nuclear reactor capacity to five, and will add 1.6 gigawatts to the national nuclear power generation capacity.
The project is 2.5 times over budget and comes on stream with a ten-year delay. The unit will start this year but only reach full capacity in 2020.
In France, energy giant EDF is gearing up for the launch of its Flamanville-3 reactor, which ended up costing the company 10.9 billion euro. This project was eight years longer than initially planned.
The Flamanville-3 reactor is planned to have sixty years of productive life but Platts said there are already problems with it: anomalies have been found in an essential component of the reactor and these may lead to the need to replace this component in just a few years.
Then there’s the Hinkley Point plant in the UK, which has become globally infamous for various problems, including security concerns because of the participation of Chinese firms in the EDF-led project. Hinkley, however, is not slated to come online until 2025, as per the French utility’s plans.
The two projects in France and Finland suggest, however, that despite its growing aversion to nuclear power and the embracing of renewables, Europe still cannot rely entirely on solar, wind, and hydro, especially as coal power plants retire in droves.