04.04.2007 Lauri Myllyvirta
Greenpeace activists protested today at the building site of the new nuclear
reactor at Olkiluoto, Finland. The nuclear reactor project Olkiluoto 3 has run
into severe safety problems and its financing is being investigated by the
European Commission because of suspected illegal state aid. The project is now
1.5 years behind timetable and way over budget. Greenpeace demands that
construction of the first EPR reactor in the world should be frozen, until the
hundreds of safety violations are addressed and the French supplier Areva
commits to fully remanufacture all faulty components.
Press release, 4th April, 2007
– More than 700 reports have been made about quality non-conformancies in the
project. This could be just the tip of the iceberg. Areva is just about to
start installing a faulty and damaged steel liner. Most components that have
not been made up to safety requirements have been only partially
remanufactured. These include reactor pressure vessel, steam generators and
pressurizer of the primary coolant circuit.
The steel liner of the reactor containment building is probably the worst
example of the utter failure of quality control. A Polish machine yard was
chosen to produce the component, even though they had no earlier experience of
nuclear power and had been producing mainly fishing ships. The company was not
even aware of the quality requirements of a nuclear power plant when they made
their cheap offer. The workers were given no training on nuclear safety.
The steel liner was welded using an unsuitable method. The supplier used
outdated blueprints and cut holes in wrong places. The safety specifications
were not adhered to, which compromised the strength and air tightness of the
weld seams. On top of this, the liner was damaged when it fell off from wooden
pellets in a storm in Finland. All these claims can be verified from Finnish
government sources. Yet the Finnish nuclear safety authority STUK is set to
allow this component to be installed.
– The project had an unrealistic timetable and price from the very beginning.
Promises given to Finnish parliament have been failed. Now the project needs a
timeout – installing faulty parts and compromising safety cannot go on, said
Lauri Myllyvirta Greenpeace nuclear campaigner in Finland.
– The failure of this project is a warning for other countries, especially for
France, which plans to build its own EPR. Nuclear power in general is risky and
harmful for the future generations. In addition to that, the safety problems,
cost overruns and delays of this nuclear reactor project will cost dearly to
Finnish society and leave them with an unreliable prototype reactor, said
Frederic Marillier from France.
Greenpeace has commissioned a German nuclear safety expert to assess, how the
safety problems and violations are likely to affect the safety and reliability
of the plant. The report will be finished by end of April. Preliminary results
give a lot of reasons for worry.
Lauri Myllyvirta, Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace +358 50 362 59 81
Frederic Marillier, Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace, +336 738 95 504
Pictures and video material: Satu Pitkänen, Press Officer, +358 50 54 61 789