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OL3 Undermining Investor Confidence in Nuclear

11.09.2007 Lauri Myllyvirta

Recent reports in financial media show that the investment community is heeding the warning from Olkiluoto and getting more conscious about industry promises. Olkiluoto is a clear demonstration that the problems that have always plagued nuclear power are not disappering.

“If Finland’s experience is any guide, the ‘nuclear renaissance’ touted by the global atomic power industry […] may not offer much progress from a generation ago, when schedule and budgetary overruns for new reactors cost investors billions of dollars.”
-Bloomberg (Financial news service), in a story picked up by International Herald Tribune among others

“Finland’s problems with the building of its Olkiluoto-3 nuclear reactor – both financially and with the construction itself – show that nuclear energy may not be as cost efficient as originally thought. […] Because of these issues, some investors are now thinking twice about joining the nuclear power sector.”
-Resource Investor (Financial news service)

“The nuclear industry has put forward very optimistic construction cost estimates, but there is no experience that comes even close to backing them up.”
-Paul Joskow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Similar problems in other projects
The Tianwan reactor in China was commissioned in June 2007, two years later than planned. Construction was halted for almost a year because of problems with welds in the steel liner for the reactor core.

In Taiwan, the Lungmen reactor project has fallen five years behind schedule. Difficulties include welds that failed inspections in 2002 and had to be redone.