Finland opens inquiry in Olkiluoto nuclear plant as the Areva scandal unfolds

JUHA SINISALO

German Economy Minister Michael Glos (R) guided by TVO Olkiluoto 3 project manager Martin Landtman (L) during their visit of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant building site in Rauma, Finland, 15 April 2008.

Finland opens inquiry in Olkiluoto nuclear plant as the Areva scandal unfolds


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An investigation is taking place on the safety of the third reactor of the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Eurajoki, Western Finland.

That follows the unraveling of the Areva SA scandal extending across Europe and perhaps beyond. An international investigation uncovered that certain parts manufactured by the maker of nuclear reactors have less steel than the company has claimed. Test results of components were then forged to cover up the fraud.

The Prosecutor’s Office in Paris has opened an investigation.

But, Finland is pursuing its own that should be completed by the end of January, according to the head of manufacturing technology at the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), Martti Vilpas.

According to the Finnish official, the Olkiluoto 3 reactor will not be back in operation before the inquiry is completed.

In an interview with the Talouselämä daily, the Finnish official said that the focus of the investigation are pressurizers.

In October it emerged that the French manufacturer involved in the development of several nuclear plants around Europe, including Britain, Finland, Germany, and France has been developing faulty parts.

The scandal erupted in the spring of 2015 when an international audit uncovered more than 85 irregularities in an Areva reactor in Germany (Fessenheim). The nuclear watchdog ordered the immediate closure of the Fessenheim-2 reactor.

The French electricity utility, EDF, went on to perform its safety inquiry at its plant in Flamanville and has since widened the scope of the investigation across the company’s 58 nuclear reactors in France.

At the heart of the scandal is the factory in Le Creusot. In late October 2016, the French press reported an internal company audit of 9,000 manufacturing records on a forged case. The audit goes back all the way to 1943 to check over 6,000 nuclear components.

The probe will take several months, according to sources inside the company cited by Bloomberg.

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