03.04.2007 Lauri Myllyvirta
Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise is anchored in front of the the nuclear reactor under construction in Olkiluoto, Finland to highlight the safety problems of the project. Today a media conference for Finnish and international media was held at the site.
Press release, 3rd April, 2007
The ship is anchored in public waters. Police and coast guard have increased presence in the area, but so far no attempts to remove Arctic Sunrise from the site have not been made.
The safety problems and delays of Olkiluoto project are turning into a disaster and are costing the Finnish people dearly. Greenpeace demands full disclosure of all the safety violations that have been detected so far, as well as a complete remanufacture of all faulty components.
– There have been problems in the manufacture of all the components most crucial to the safety and reliability of the plant, such as parts of the reactor pressure vessel, primary circuit pipings, steam generator and pressurizer, all of which need to be remanufactured, Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Lauri Myllyvirta said.
Finnish authorities, TVO and Areva have all inspected the plans and methods of construction beforehand but failed to spot the failures. Altogether, more than 700 quality problems have been identified, but most of them have not been made public. The nuclear industry promised Finns cheap nuclear power but instead what they got is cheap and poor quality construction”, said Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Lauri Myllyvirta.
Greenpeace also published photos from a Polish machine yard, where incompetent workers used an outdated method to weld the steel container of the reactor. This component is the most striking example of neglect of safety in the project: weld seams are too far apart, the container was damaged when it fell in a storm during storage and the steel is wavy. Despite these problems it is about to be installed because of time pressure.
The problems and delays are hardly a surprise, since compromises have been made from the very beginning. Areva will probably cover most of the extra costs to TVO. Costs will be also incurred by Finnish taxpayers, whom Areva will not compensate. For example the Finnish government has already decided it needs to buy more emission credits because of the delay.
– The new government must reassess, whether this project is in the best interest of the Finnish society. The promises given to the Parliament when this assessment was first made have been shown to be utterly false. The price and timetable were completely unrealistic, reliance on electricity imports is not declining and the Kyoto targets will be missed without strong new measures, Myllyvirta continued.
Greenpeace also criticised TVO for distributing false information about the project. The only ongoing nuclear construction project in industrialized countries has attracted media interest from all over the world and they have given a falsely optimistic picture of the situation.
– Foreign journalists are told in Olkiluoto, that Finns almost unanimously support nuclear power, that dumping nuclear waste in Olkiluoto bedrock has already been approved by the Government and that the safety failures of the new reactor have been addressed, none of which are true. Greenpeace has answered inquiries on TVO’s dubious claims from more than ten countries, including Indonesia, Lithuania, United States and Turkey, Myllyvirta described.
Lauri Myllyvirta, Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace, +358 50 362 5981
Frederic Marillier, Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace (France), + 33 6 738 95504
Mikael Sjövall, Press Officer, Greenpeace, +358 50 3696 202 (contact for whole press kit of the event with photos and graphics)