After years of delay, an EPR nuclear reactor, Olkiluoto 3, of Franco-German design, was put into service on Sunday April 16 in Finland in order to cover a third of the energy needs there, announced its operator, the TVO group. .

Thirteen years behind schedule, the reactor should have started operating in December, but its activation had to be postponed several times during its experimental period. “Testing is complete and regular power generation began today,” TVO said in a statement. “As of now, about 30% of Finnish electricity is produced in Olkiluoto,” he added.

During the production test phase at the end of 2022, one of the three safety valves of the OL3 reactor at Olkiluoto, in southwestern Finland, built by the French group Areva, was found to be defective.

Reaching full capacity in September

Construction of the 1,600 megawatt reactor began in 2005 and had, during experiments, reached full operational capacity for the first time in September. The Olkiluoto plant also has two older nuclear reactors.

According to TVO, the EPR supplied about 15% of Finland’s electricity during its experimental phase.

Developed by France, this model of EPR (European Pressurized Reactor) was designed to revive nuclear energy in Europe after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, being presented as offering higher power and better safety.

Its construction, however, represented a technical headache and not only in Finland. In France, the construction of the Flamanville EPR (north), started in 2007, was also affected by very long delays. Two reactors have been commissioned in China.