Finnish utility Fortum Power and Heat Oy has submitted an application to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment to operate both units 1 and 2 of its Loviisa nuclear power plant until the end of 2050. The current operating licences expire at the end of 2027 and 2030, respectively.Loviisa (Image: Fortum)
The company has also applied for a licence to use the low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste final disposal facility located at the Loviisa site until 2090, after which the facility will be permanently sealed.
The Loviisa plant - comprising two VVER-440 type pressurised water reactors - was the first nuclear power plant in Finland and currently provides more than 10% of the country's electricity. Loviisa unit 1 began commercial operation in 1977, with unit 2 following in 1981. The operating licences for the units were renewed in 1998 and 2007, respectively.
Fortum submitted its environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the Loviisa plant to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on 6 September last year. The report assessed the environmental impacts of a potential extension of the operation of the plant or, alternatively, its decommissioning, as well as the environmental impacts of the final disposal facility for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste.
The ministry submitted its informed conclusion on the EIA report on continued use of Loviisa plant on 14 January. The conclusion ended the EIA process of the project, which also included an international assessment as part of the Espoo Convention.
Fortum announced in early-March its intention to apply for a licence extension for Loviisa and expected to submit its application by the end of this month.
The Finnish government will now review Fortum's application. It will request statements from several authorities, organisations and municipalities in the affected area, and provide citizens and communities with an opportunity to express their opinions. These statements must be received by 12 August. The government is expected to make a final decision in about one year.
"We want to support the achievement of Finland's and Europe's carbon neutrality targets and enable the building of a reliable, competitive and sustainable energy system," said Simon-Erik Ollus, executive vice president of Fortum's Generation Division.
"The Loviisa power plant's lifetime extension is significant for all of Finland because it contributes to securing the supply of clean domestic electricity also in the future."
Fortum said it has invested some EUR325 million (USD360 million) in the Loviisa plant over the past five years. Investments related to continuing of operations and lifetime extension, it said, will amount to an estimated EUR1 billion until 2050.
Researched and written by World Nuclear News