Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant

The Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant is located in the municipality Leibstadt (canton Aargau, Switzerland) on the Rhine River close of the Aare delta and the German border. It is so far the last nuclear power station built in Switzerland.

A boiling water reactor built there by the company General Electric with 1,220 MW of electrical power serves the power demands of the area, the cooling is done via a cooling tower. The nuclear power station has produced approximately 8.5 TWh per year, slightly less than the power station Gösgen.

The Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant is owned by Leibstadt AG (KKL), which is composed of six Swiss energy companies: the Aare Tessin AG for electricity (Atel) with 27%, the northeast power stations AG (NOK) with 23%, the central-Swiss power stations AG (CKW) with 14%, the electricity company running castle AG (EGL) with 16%, the Bern power stations AG (BKW FMB energy AG) with 10% and the Aargauer of power stations AG (AEW energy AG) with 5 %. The management was originally done by the EGL, but with establishment of the Axpo it was consolidated within the Axpo group, so whereby today the NOK is the manager. The plant also houses a 380 kV switchyard for Beznau.

The Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant is an old project, planning began 1964 for a 600 MW reactor with river water cooling. With the prohibition of the river water cooling by the Swiss Federal Council in 1971 a cooling tower solution was favored. In the further planning process the output was increased to 600 and then 900 MW. In 1984 the plant started after an eleven-year construction period. After the Three Mile Island accident in the year 1979 new safety regulations were implemented, and the completion was delayed several years. While the budget was originally set for 2,000,000,000 Swiss francs, and the end of construction it had amounted to over 5,000,000,000 francs.

The history of the completion of the KKL reflected increasingly critical attitudes toward Nuclear power in Switzerland during the 1970s and 1980s, which culminated in the resistance the Kaiseraugst Nuclear Power Plant.

Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant
Country Switzerland
Construction began 1972
Commission date May 24, 1984
Operator(s) Kernkraftwerk Leibstadt AG

Reactor information
Reactors operational 1 x 1220 MW

Power generation information
Annual generation 9367 GW·h
Net generation 174,091 GW·h

Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant (LVNPP)

Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant (LVNPP) is located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, in Alto Lucero, Veracruz, Mexico. It is the largest electric power generating nuclear plant in Mexico by power generation and produces about 4.5% of the country's electrical energy. LVNPP has an original installed capacity of 1,365 Megawatts (Mw). It consists of two units General Electric Boiling Water Reactors (BWR-5) using Uranium (U235 Isotope 3% enriched) as fuel. Unit-1 (U-1) started its operation on July 29, 1990. Unit-2 (U-2) started its operation on April 10, 1995. The plant is owned and operated by Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), the national electric company owned by the Mexican government.

Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant (LVNPP) has been considered a strategic facility for Sistema Eléctrico Nacional (SEN/National Power System), due to its high power generation capacity, lowest operating cost, and frequency and voltage regulation capacity. All the electric power generated is delivered to its single client: Centro Nacional de Control de Energía (CENACE/National Energy Control Center). CENACE is entrusted with the function of planning, directing, and supervising the transmission and distribution of electric power to end user. CENACE has classified LVNPP as Base Load Power Plant since the beginning of its operations.

The annual generation average for LVNPP in the last 5 years has been of 10,479 GWh, electric power sufficient to meet the demand of more than 4 million inhabitants.


The generation of electric power at the CLV is based on the technology of nuclear fission of Uranium atoms, which takes place in the reactor. The energy released by the nuclear fission is transferred as heat from the fuel to the cooling water, which boils into steam. The quality of steam is controlled through a separator and dryer. The separator and dryer are part of the internal processes of the reactor pressure vessel. Power from each reactor is 3,944 Kilotons/Hour (Kt/h) of steam to generate 682 MW of electric power. Both Reactor Units (U1 and U2) operate using 444 enriched Uranium assemblies, storing power equal to 38.9 million oil barrels. This nuclear fuel is specifically designed to be admitted into the core of the reactor. The fuel is purchased only from qualified vendors worldwide.

After 18 months of operation, between 25% and 30% of the nuclear fuel is replaced. This activity is called "Refueling Outage" process. The turbine transforms power from steam (kinetic energy) into mechanical energy causing an electric generator to move (electric power production). Once the steam has gone through the turbine, it is cooled in a condenser; the water obtained in this manner is pumped again toward the nuclear reactor, to restart the generation cycle.

Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant
Country Mexico
Locale Alto Lucero, Veracruz Mexico
Status Operational
Commission date 1990 (Unit 1)
1995 (Unit 2)
Owner(s) Mexican Government
Operator(s) Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE)

Reactor information
Reactors operational 2 reactors
Reactor type(s) Boiling Water Reactors (BWR-5)
Reactor supplier(s) General Electric (GE)

Power generation information
Installed capacity 1,365 MW
Annual generation 4.782 GW-h x 2

Power Uprate

In 2007 CFE signed a contract with an investment of $600 million USD to increase the original capability of each of the units of Laguna Verde by 20%, equivalent to 255 MW, in order to tend the growth of the demand of electric power in Mexico. This power uprate will allow to LVNPP an additional annual generation of 2,122 GWh, equivalent to the demand of a city of 800 thousand inhabitants.

General Electric performed the engineering analysis to determine the necessary plant modifications and to support the safety analysis report necessary for approval of the power uprate by the Mexican nuclear regulator Comisión Nacional de Seguridad Nuclear y Salvaguardias (CNSNS/National Commission on Nuclear Safety and Safeguards).

Work began in 2008 by Iberdrola and Alstom and is expected to finish late 2010. The main modifications consist in a turbine and condenser retrofit and the replacement of the electric generator, main steam reheater and the feedwater heater. The budget for the project is $605 million dollars.


Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant (LVNPP) has been recognized worldwide because of its performance, competitiveness, safety, reliability, environmentally friendly, innovations and continuous improvement. To support the nuclear option in Mexico, Laguna Verde has obtained several achievements, for example, National Quality Award (IFCT 2007), and Golden Award from Iberoamerican Foundation for Quality Management (FUNDIBEQ 2009).

In 2009, Laguna Verde obtained Annual recognition as a Enterprise Social Responsibility awarded by the Mexican Centre for Philanthropy.

The following table shows the chronologic developments at Laguna Verde.

1976 Implementation of the Quality Assurance Program as part of the international nuclear standard during the construction phase
1982 Implementation of the Quality Assurance Program in the operation phase
1990 Start of Reactor Unit 1 commercial operation
1991 World record broken for reaching 250 days of continuous operation (without interruptions) during the first generation cycle
1995 Start of Reactor Unit 2 commercial operation
1995 Laguna Verde used as a base to institutionalize the Total Quality program at the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) nationwide
1995 Accreditation of the Environmental Engineering Laboratory by the Mexican Accrediting Entity
1997 For the first time, CFE awards the Total Quality institutional prize, won by the Laguna Verde
1997 ISO 9001:1994 quality standard certification is obtained as part of the Continuous improvement program
1999 ISO 14001 quality standard certification was obtained
1999 Power generation boosted by 5% (sufficient to satisfy the needs of 200,000 persons)
2002 Certification in the Mexican Industrial Safety Standard NMX-SAST-001-IMNC-2000, which is the equivalent of the international OSHAS-18000.
2003 Certification in the ISO 9001:2000 Quality Standard based on process management.
2004 Laguna Verde reached Level-3 in the WANO excellence rating (maximum 1, minimum 5)
2004 to 2007 CLV significantly reduced the duration of refueling outage periods to 27 days
2005 Prize for the Nuclear Power Station with the best performance outside the USA given by WANO/ATLANTA
2005 Approval of the Extended Power Uprate Project (EPU) with an investment of $600 million USD, which will make it possible to increase the installed capacity by 20% compared with the original and which is strategically important to extend the station's useful life up to 50 years
2006 and 2008 Clean Industry biennial certification issued by the Mexican government through the Federal Environment Protection Agency as a result of complying with the 66 environment and safety standards
2006 Laguna Verde reached Level-2 in the WANO excellence rating, the highest level obtained by a nuclear power station outside the United States according to WANO/ATLANTA
2006 Recognition for world-class operation performance in Reactor Units 1 and 2 granted by General Electric
2006 Accreditation of the Metrology Laboratory by the Mexican Accrediting Entity
2007 Environmental Excellence Recognition (the highest award for the environment) obtained by the Mexican government because of high sustainability in the preservation of natural resources
2008 Laguna Verde obtains National Quality Prize 2007, which the highest recognition for policy and strategy quality and execution in congruence with the competitiveness and sustainability results obtained
2008 to 2009 Annual recognition as a Enterprise Social Responsibility awarded by the Mexican Centre for Philanthropy in compliance with ethical values, community support and respect and care for the environment
2009 Iberoamerican Quality Prize 2009 obtained, the highest award given by the Fundación Iberoamericana para Gestión de la Calidad (FUNDIBEQ/Iberoamerican Quality Management Foundation)
2010 Laguna Verde Manager receives the Nuclear Excellence Recognition delivered by WANO during Biennial Meeting, for promoting leadership that makes an extraordinary contribution to the promotion of Safe Operation Excellence at nuclear power stations

Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant

The Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (Ignalinos Atominė Elektrinė, IAE) is a closed two-unit RBMK-1500 nuclear power station in Visaginas, Lithuania. It was named after the nearby city of Ignalina. Due to the plant's similarities to the failed Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in both reactor design and lack of a robust containment building, Lithuania agreed to close the plant as part of its accession agreement to the European Union. Unit 1 was closed in December 2004. The remaining Unit 2 accounted for 25% of Lithuania's electricity generating capacity and supplied about 70% of Lithuania's electrical demand; it was closed on 31 December 2009. Proposals have been made to construct another nuclear power plant at the same site, but the recession of the late 2000s has made financing a replacement power plant a challenging proposition.


The Ignalina nuclear power plant contained two RBMK-1500 water-cooled graphite-moderated channel-type power reactors. The Soviet-designed RBMK-1500 reactor was originally the most powerful reactor in the world with an electrical power capacity of 1,500 megawatts, but this distinction was later superseded by other nuclear reactors elsewhere. After the Chernobyl accident the reactor was de-rated to 1,360 MW. These are of a similar type of reactor (RBMK-1000) as at the Chernobyl power plant, hence the European Union's insistence on closing them.

Unit 1 came online in December 1983, and was closed on 31 December 2004. Unit 2 came online in August 1987 and was closed on 31 December 2009 at 2300 EET (2100 UTC). Plans to build a third and fourth reactor at Ignalina were never finished because of the public backlash against nuclear power following the Chernobyl accident of April 1986: the partially completed Unit 3 was later demolished.

In December 1983 when Ignalina Unit 1 came online, a design flaw of the RBMK was noticed for the first time. The graphite moderated tips on the control rods, which partially caused the Chernobyl accident in 1986, were entered in to the reactor. They immediately caused a power surge. In this case the control rods did not get stuck, and could get down to the bottom of the reactor. The boron in the control rods stopped the nuclear reaction.


Preparations for the construction began in 1974. Field work began four years later. In 1987, Unit 2 was completed. Originally, Unit 2 was scheduled for launch in 1986, but its commissioning was postponed for a year because of the Chernobyl accident. The construction of Unit 3 was suspended and its demolition began in 1989. The town of Visaginas was built to accommodate the plant's workers. At the time, the settlements at Visaginas were no more than villages, making it a prominent example of "greenfield investment", a situation when a large town or industrial facility is built in an area with little existing infrastructure. It was sited next to the largest lake in Lithuania, Lake Drūkšiai (part of which lies in neighbouring Belarus) which provided the plant's cooling water. The temperature of the lake has risen by about 3 degrees Celsius (5 °F), causing eutrophication. The plant's discharges of radionuclides and heavy metals have accumulated in lake waters and sediments.

According to an Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant press release, on 6 June 2009 at 0915 EEST (0615 UTC) the automatic reactor protection system was actuated and Unit 2 was shut down. No radiation was released. Plant officials decided to keep it off-line for thirty days, performing the annual preventative maintenance in June, instead of 29 August–27 September as originally scheduled.

Its spent fuel was placed in CASTOR and CONSTOR storage casks during the 2000s.

In 2005 Lithuanian authorities told that Russian agent Vladimir Alganov, earlier deported from Poland, had been granted a Lithuanian visa for some reason and he had met managers of Ignalina in 2003.


As a condition of entry into the European Union, Lithuania agreed in 1999 to close existing units of the station, citing the Ignalina plant's lack of a containment building as a high risk. The European Union agreed to pay €820 million decommissioning costs and compensation, with payments continuing until 2013.

Closure of the plant faced fierce opposition from the Lithuanian people. The plant provides income to most local residents. To compensate for this, a project was started to encourage tourism and other small businesses. Others were afraid that the price of electricity would skyrocket or that Lithuania would be left to cope with the extremely high costs of decommissioning the plant and disposing of its nuclear waste. A 2008 referendum proposed extending the operation of Unit 2 until a new nuclear plant could be completed as a replacement; the referendum gained 1,155,192 votes for the proposal, but ultimately failed to gain the 50% turnout necessary to be passed. President Valdas Adamkus opposed the measure on grounds that continued operation would not respect Lithuania's international commitments.

The Lithuanian government forecasts that the electricity price for households will rise by 30% from 2010. Analysts expect that the shutdown could cut Lithuania's gross domestic product growth by 1–1.5%, and increase inflation by 1%. Ignalina's production will be compensated for by production of the fossil fuel Elektrėnai Power Plant as well as by imports from Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, and Belarus. The closure may test Lithuanian-Russian relations. Responding to concerns that Lithuania would become more dependent on Russian energy sources that could be withdrawn if relations deteriorate, President Dalia Grybauskaitė issued reassuring statements in late 2009.

New nuclear power plant

There was discussion during the 1990s and 2000s of building a new nuclear power plant at the same site, forestalling the likelihood of an upcoming power shortage in the region. On 27 February 2006, at a meeting in Trakai, the Prime Ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia signed a communiqué which invited state-owned energy companies in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to invest in the design and construction of a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania. On 28 June 2007, Lithuania's parliament adopted a law on building a new nuclear power plant, the formal start of a project. On 30 July 2008, the power companies of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Poland agreed to set up the Visaginas Nuclear Plant Company, which will be responsible for construction of the new power plant with a capacity of 3,000–3,200 megawatts. The government of Lithuania remains committed to the Visaginas project and hopes to solicit construction bids by late 2009/early 2010, with a completion date of 2018–2020. While several international companies are interested in bidding on the project, the question of how it will be financed amidst a global recession raises doubts on if, not when, construction will begin at Visaginas.

Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant
Country Lithuania
Locale Visaginas
Construction began 1978–84
Commission date 31 December 1983
Decommission date 31 December 2009
Operator(s) Ignalinos Atominė Elektrinė

Reactor information
Reactors decom. 2 x 1360 MW
Reactors cancelled 2 x 1360 MW
Reactor type(s) RBMK-1500

Power generation information
Annual generation 7,945 GW·h

Paks Nuclear Power Plant

The Paks Nuclear Power Plant (Paksi Atomerőmű), located 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Paks, central Hungary, is the only operating nuclear power station in Hungary. Altogether, its four reactors produce around 40 percent of the electrical power generated in the country.

VVER is the Soviet designation for a pressurized water reactor. The number following VVER, in this case 440, represents the power output of the original design. The VVER-440 Model V213, was a product of the first uniform safety requirements drawn up by the Soviet designers. This model includes added emergency core cooling and auxiliary feedwater systems as well as upgraded accident localization systems.

Each reactor contains 42 tons of slightly enriched uranium dioxide fuel. Fuel takes on average three years to be used (or "burned") in the reactors; after this the fuel rods are stored for five years in an adjacent cooling pond before being removed from the site for permanent disposal.

The Paks Nuclear Power Plant is nearly 100% owned by state-owned power wholesaler Magyar Villamos Művek (MVM). A few shares are held by local municipalities, while a voting preference or "golden" share is held by the Hungarian government. The government is planning to partially privatize MVM but has said that due to security concerns, the Paks nuclear power generator will be kept fully state owned.

One brand-new reactor was bought from Poland after the Żarnowiec Nuclear Power Plant project was abandoned in its late development stage.

Station Type Net capacity Construction date Grid date
PAKS-1 VVER-440/V213 437 MWe 01-Aug-74 28-Dec-82
PAKS-2 VVER-440/V213 441 MWe 01-Aug-74 06-Sept-84
PAKS-3 VVER-440/V213 433 MWe 01-Oct-79 28-Sept-86
PAKS-4 VVER-440/V213 444 MWe 01-Oct-79 16-Aug-87
Paks Nuclear Power Plant
Country Hungary
Locale Paks
Status Operational
Construction began 1967–1987
Commission date December 28, 1982
Owner(s) MVM (state ownership)
Operator(s) Paksi Atomerőmű Zrt.

Reactor information
Reactors operational 1 x 437 MW
1 x 441 MW
1 x 433 MW
1 x 444 MW
Reactor type(s) VVER-440/V213

Power station information
Generation units 8

Power generation information
Annual generation 14,818 GW·h
Net generation 319,925 GW·h

Lifetime extension

The original 30-year lifetime of the four blocs will begin to run out in 2012. As Hungary lacks energy resources and relies heavily on the power plant, it has committed to a 20-year lifetime extension.

In 2000, the Paks Nuclear Power Plant commissioned a feasibility study which concluded that the plant may remain in operation for another 20 years. The study was updated in 2005 with similar conclusions.

In November 2005, Hungary's Parliament passed a resolution with overwhelming bipartisan majority to support the lifetime extension.

The feasibility study concluded that the non-replaceable parts are in sufficient condition to remain in operation for another 20 years while a minority of replaceable parts needed replacement or refurbishment.

The power generator made repeated surveys of public opinion on the lifetime extension and concluded that support for the decision hovered near 70%.

Following the Fukushima I nuclear accidents in March 2011, Hungary's government said it would conduct a stress test on the Paks Nuclear Power Plant to assess safety but it would not abandon plans for lifetime extension and it would also go ahead with plans for its expansion.

Power uprating

Thanks to optimizations, modernization and fuel upgrades it was possible to safely increase the output power of the Unit 4 reactor to 500 MWe in 2006, followed by Unit 1 in 2007. With upgrades to the remaining two units the plant's power generation reached 2000 MWe in 2009.

Nuclear Incidents in Paks Nuclear Power Plant

2003 incident

An INES level 3 event ("serious incident") occurred on 10 April 2003 at the Unit 2 reactor. The incident occurred in the fuel rod cleaning system located under 10 metres (33 ft) of water in a cleaning tank next to the spent fuel cooling pond, located adjacent to the reactor in the reactor hall. The reactor had been shut down for its annual refueling and maintenance period on 28 March and its fuel elements removed.

The cleaning system had been installed to remove dirt and corrosion from fuel elements and control rods during shutdown, as there had previously been problems with magnetite corrosion products from the steam generators being deposited on the fuel elements which affected the flow of coolant. The sixth set of thirty partially spent elements were in the tank having been cleaned, the cleaning having finished at 16:00. At 21:50, radiation alarms mounted on the cleaning system detected a sudden increase in the amount of krypton-85. The suspicion was that one of the fuel rod assemblies was leaking. At 22:30, the reactor hall was evacuated because of elevated radiation levels both there and in the ventilation stack.

At 02:15 the following morning, the hydraulic lock of the cleaning vessel lid was released, and immediately the dose rate increased significantly (6-12 millisieverts/hour) around the spent fuel pond and the pool containing the cleaning machine, and the water level dropped for a short time, by about 7 cm (2.8 in). Water samples from the pond showed contamination due to damaged fuel rods. The lid on the cleaning machine was winched up at 04:20, but one of the three lifting cables attached to it broke; and it was not finally removed until 16 April.

The incident was initially given an INES rating of 2 ("incident"). However a video examination of the damaged fuel elements following the successful removal of the lid caused the rating to be raised to 3 ("serious incident"). This revealed that cladding on the majority of the 30 fuel elements had been broken, with radioactive spent uranium fuel pellets spilling from the elements into the bottom of the cleaning tank. Apart from the release of radioactive material, a concern was that the accumulation of a compact mass of fuel pellets could lead to a criticality accident, as the pellets were in a tank of neutron moderating water. Water containing neutron absorbing boric acid was added into the tank to raise its concentration to 16 g/kg to prevent this. Ammonia and hydrazine were also added to the water to help with the removal of radioactive iodine-131.

An investigation by the Hungarian Atomic Energy Agency concluded that the cause of the incident was inadequate cooling of the fuel elements, which were heated due to the radioactive decay of short-lived fission products. These were kept cool by water circulated by a submerged water pump. However the cooling was inadequate, leading to the damage to some elements through a build-up of steam around them, depriving them of most of their cooling. The investigation proposed that the severe damage probably occurred when the lid was released, causing thermal shock to cladding because of the sudden entry of cool water into the system, and explosive steam production.

One of the interesting results of the investigation was that the Hungarian Atomic Agency had placed too much trust in the technology and knowledge of the French Framatome Company (now Areva). The agency did not investigate documentation provided by the company deeply enough, missing a fatal design flaw in the Framatome-designed, produced, and operated cleaning equipment.

The discharge of radioactive gases through the stack continued for several days after the incident, although the Hungarian Atomic Energy Agency determined that the radiation levels adjacent to the plant were only about 10% above normal. However, the reactor remained out of service for over a year, finally resuming commercial electricity production in September 2004.

2009 outage incident

A self-powered neutron detector (SPND) was dropped when the wire rope holding it broke during an outage on May 4, 2009. The event was rated as INES 2. All staff were evacuated, but no member was exposed to the permitted daily radiation dose.

Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant

The Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant (Olkiluodon ydinvoimalaitos) is on Olkiluoto Island, which is on the shore of the Gulf of Bothnia in the municipality of Eurajoki in western Finland. It is one of Finland's two nuclear power plants, the other being the two-unit VVER Loviisa Nuclear Power Plant. The plant is operated by Teollisuuden Voima, a subsidiary of Pohjolan Voima.

The Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant consists of two BWRs with 860 MWe each. Unit 3, the first EPR (European Pressurized water Reactor) is under construction, but various problems with workmanship and supervision have created costly delays which have been the subject of an inquiry by the Finnish nuclear regulator Säteilyturvakeskus (STUK). A license for a fourth reactor to be built at the site was granted by the Finnish parliament in July 2010.

Olkiluato Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 and 2

Units 1 and 2 consists of two BWRs with 860 MWe each. These were supplied by ASEA-Atom, now a part of Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB. Steam generators were supplied by Stal-Laval. The units' architecture was designed by ASEA-Atom. Reactor pressure vessels were construct by Uddcomb Sweden AB, and reactor internal parts, mechanical components by Finnatom. Electrical equipment was supplied by Oy Strömberg Ab. Unit 1 was constructed by Atomirakennus and unit 2 by Jukola and Työyhtymä. Unit 1 achieved its initial criticality in July 1978 and it started commercial operations in October 1979. Unit 2 achieved its initial criticality in October 1979 and it started commercial operations in July 1982.

Olkiluato Nuclear Power Plant Unit 3

The first license application for the third reactor (EPR) was made in December 2000 and the original commissioning date of the third reactor was set to May 2009. However, in May 2009 the plant was "at least three and a half years behind schedule and more than 50 percent over-budget". The commissioning deadline has been postponed several times and as of June 2010 operation is set to start in 2013 at a fixed price of €3 billion ($4.1 billion). The reactor pressure vessel was installed on 21 June 2010.

The project was started by Areva NP, a joint venture of AREVA and Siemens, but Siemens withdrew and sold its share to AREVA. Work began on the Olkiluoto EPR in 2005, but various problems with workmanship have created delays:

First to come to light were irregularities in foundation concrete, which caused work to slow on site for months. Later it was found that subcontractors had provided heavy forgings that were not up to project standards and which had to be re-cast. An apparent problem constructing the reactor's unique double-containment structure has also caused delays.

According to Professor Stephen Thomas, "Olkiluoto has become an example of all that can go wrong in economic terms with new reactors". Areva and the utility involved "are in bitter dispute over who will bear the cost overruns and there is a real risk now that the utility will default". The project has also been criticized by the Finnish nuclear safety regulator, STUK, because "instructions have not been observed in the welding of pipes and the supervision of welding." STUK has also noted that there have been delays in submitting proper paperwork. Olkiluoto 3 was supposed to be the first "third generation" reactor which would pave the way for a new wave of identikit reactors - safe, affordable, and delivered on time - across Europe. The delays and cost overruns have had knock-on effects in other countries.

Olkiluato Nuclear Power Plant Unit 4

On 14 February 2008, Teollisuuden Voima submitted an environmental impact assessment of the unit four to the Ministry of Employment and Economy. On 21 April 2010, the Government of Finland decided to grant a permit to Teollisuuden Voima for construction of the fourth reactor in Olkiluoto. The decision was approved by the Parliament on 1 July 2010. If constructed, the fourth unit would be a PWR or BWR with a power output of 1,000 to 1,800 MWe.

Onkalo waste repository

After the Finnish Nuclear Energy Act was amended in 1994 so that all nuclear waste produced in Finland must be disposed of in Finland, Olkiluoto was selected in 2000 to become the site of disposal of all of Finland's spent nuclear fuel.

A nuclear waste repository research tunnel known as Onkalo (lit. "cavern") is being constructed in the granite bedrock just miles from Olkiluoto power plants. The municipality of Eurajoki issued a building permit for the facility in August 2003 and excavation began in 2004. The Onkalo project will be developed in phases:

  • Phase 1 (2004–09) will focus on excavation of the large access tunnel, spiraling down to a depth of 420 metres (1,380 ft)
  • Phase 2 (2009–11) will include continued excavation to a final depth of 520 metres (1,710 ft) and research on the characteristics of the bedrock, to adapt the layout of the repository
  • About 2012, Posiva Oy (the agency responsible for construction of Onkalo) plans to submit an application for a construction license for the final disposal facility: approval and final planning is expected to take several years
  • Phase 3 is expected to begin about 2015, construction of the final disposal facility to begin
  • Phase 4, the facility is expected to begin encapsulation and burial in 2020.

The Onkalo repository is expected to be large enough to accept canisters of spent fuel for one hundred years before it is full about 2120, at which point the tunnel will be backfilled and sealed.

Critics state that fractured bedrock in this area may lead to problems with increased flow of ground water. Also, the very large amount of copper used in nuclear waste canisters could tempt criminals to retrieve copper from the containers in the future.

Into Eternity, directed by Danish director Michael Madsen, is a feature-length documentary film about the Onkalo Waste Repository.

Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant
Country Finland
Locale Eurajoki
Status operational
Construction began 1973
Commission date 10 October 1979
Owner(s) Teollisuuden Voima Oy

Reactor information
Reactors operational 2 x 860 MWe
Reactors under construction 1 x 1,600 MWe
Reactors planned 1 x 1,000–1,800 MWe
Reactor supplier(s) ASEA-Atom (units 1 and 2)
Areva (unit 3)
Turbine manufacturer(s) Stal-Laval (units 1 and 2)
Siemens (unit 3)

Power generation information
Installed capacity 1,720 MWe
Annual generation 14,268 GW·h
Net generation 323,760 GW·h

Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant

Koeberg nuclear power plant is the only nuclear power station in South Africa and the entire African continent. It is located 30 km north of Cape Town, near Melkbosstrand on the west coast of South Africa. Koeberg is owned and operated by the country's only national electricity supplier, Eskom. The two reactors at the station form the cornerstone of the South African nuclear program.

Koeberg nuclear power plant contains two uranium pressurized water reactors based on a design by Framatome of France. Koeberg supplies power to the national grid so that over-capacity can be redistributed to the rest of the country on an as-needed basis. Koeberg is rated at 1,800 MW, its average annual production is 13,668 GWh and it has two large turbine generators (2 × 900 MW).

The Koeberg nuclear power plant was constructed near Cape Town to be the sole provider of power in the Western Cape after fossil fuel power stations were deemed too small and too expensive to be viable. Nuclear power was considered because it was more economical than transporting coal to the existing fossil-fuel power stations, and construction of new fossil-fuel power-stations, which would have required 300 m tall chimneys to comply with clean-air legislation. Athlone Power Station in the city was too small to provide Cape Town's needs, and the Paarden Island power station (itself too small) has been demolished.

The reactor at Koeberg is cooled by cold water from the Atlantic Ocean pumped through an isolated circuit at 80 tons a second. Low and intermediate level waste from Koeberg is transported by road in steel and concrete containers to a rural disposal site at Vaalputs, 600 km away in the Kalahari Desert. The grounds of the nuclear plant form a 22 km² nature reserve open to the public containing more than 150 species of birds and half a dozen small mammal species.

The power plant was originally located outside the metropolitan area, whose growth has far-exceeded expectations in the intervening 20 years, so that the power plant is now close to suburban housing. The plant administration enforces maximum housing density regulations in case of evacuation, which precludes the construction of high rise buildings.

Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant
Country South Africa
Locale Western Cape
Status Operational
Construction began 1976
Commission date 1984
Owner(s) Eskom
Operator(s) Eskom

Reactor information
Reactors operational 2 x 900 MW
Reactor type(s) Pressurized water reactor
Reactor supplier(s) Framatome

Power generation information
Annual generation 13668 GW·h

Temelín Nuclear Power Plant

Temelín Nuclear Power Plant (Jaderná elektrárna Temelín, abbreviation JETE) is located near Temelín, a small village in the Czech Republic. Temelín NPP is owned by ČEZ Group, which employs 1000 workers at this site. The adjacent castle Vysoký Hrádek serves as an information centre.

Technical data

Station Reactor type Net capacity Gross capacity Initial criticality Grid date Exp. shutdown
Temelín 1 VVER 1000/320 963 MWe 1013 MWe Dec 2000 Jun 2002 2042
Temelín 2 VVER 1000/320 963 MWe 1013 MWe Dec 2002 Apr 2003 2043

The plant has four cooling towers. Each tower has a height of 150 metres (490 ft), a diameter of 130 metres (430 ft), and an external wall surface area of 44,000 square metres (470,000 sq ft).

The reactor vessel contains 163 fuel assemblies; a single assembly has 313 fuel rods. There are 61 control rods.

New reactors in Temelin Nuclear Power Plant

Plans to build all four original reactors were reopened in 2005. In 2007 planning was suspended because a new government agreed not to promote nuclear energy; a Green Party was a member of the coalition government. However, in July 2008 ČEZ requested the Ministry of the Environment conduct an environmental impact assessment for two additional reactors. In 2009 regional approval was granted for the new build. ČEZ plans to begin construction in 2013, with completion of the first block in 2020. In August 2009, ČEZ sought bids for two pressurized water reactors (PWRs). As of 2010 the companies bidding for the project are Areva, Westinghouse Electric Company, and a consortium of Skoda JS, Atomstroyexport and Gidropress. The winner of the tender will be made public in 2011. Shortly after Fukushima I nuclear accidents, Prime Minister Petr Nečas announced that the construction of new reactors will continue according to the original plans.

Temelín Nuclear Power Station
Country Czech Republic
Status Operational
Construction began 1981
Commission date June 10, 2002
Construction cost 98.6 billion CZK
Operator(s) ČEZ, a. s.
Constructor(s) Westinghouse, Skoda JS

Reactor information
Reactors operational 2 x 963 MW
Reactor type(s) VVER 1000/320 PWRs

Power generation information
Annual generation 11,377 GW·h
Net generation 51,518 GW·h