HELSINKI – Finland’s long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor, Europe’s largest, began regular operation early on Sunday, according to its operator, bolstering energy security in an area where Russia has interrupted gas and power supplies.

Nuclear power is still controversial in Europe, mostly due to safety concerns, and the announcement of OL3’s restart comes as Germany turned off its final three remaining reactors on Saturday, while Sweden, France, Britain, and others plan new projects.

Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), which is controlled by Finnish utility Fortum and a consortium of energy and industrial businesses, has stated that the unit will meet around 14 percent of Finland’s electricity consumption, eliminating the need for imports from Sweden and Norway.

After completing the transition from testing to regular output, TVO stated in a statement on Sunday that the new reactor is expected to produce for at least 60 years.

“The production of Olkiluoto 3 stabilizes electricity prices and plays an important role in the Finnish green transition,” stated TVO Chief Executive Jarmo Tanhua in a statement.
The 1.6 gigatonne (GW) reactor, Finland’s first new nuclear plant in more than four decades and Europe’s first in 16 years, began construction in 2005. The factory was supposed to open four years later, however it was delayed due to technical difficulties.

OL3 first supplied test production to Finland’s national power grid in March of last year, with regular output scheduled four months later, but instead had a series of malfunctions and outages that took months to resolve.
Russia’s electricity exports to Finland ceased in May when Russian utility Inter RAO announced that it had not been paid for the energy it delivered, owing to the growing schism between Moscow and Europe over the Ukraine conflict.

Gazprom, Russia’s national export monopoly, abruptly ceased shipments of natural gas to the Nordic country.



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