May 23, 2019 / 9:45 AM / 4 months ago

Finland's Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor begins work to fix vibrations

A general view of the unfinished Olkiluoto-3 nuclear reactor in Eurajoki, Finland August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Jussi Rosendahl/File Photo

OSLO (Reuters) - Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor has begun work to repair a previously reported problem that causes vibrations in its cooling unit, and which must be fixed before regulators sign off on its safety, operator TVO said on Thursday.

Start-up of the reactor, Finland’s first new nuclear plant in some 40 years, is a decade behind schedule amid repeated setbacks in its construction.

In March, the reactor received an operating permit from the Finnish government, the first one issued in 40 years, but it still requires a final nod from regulators before fuel is loaded and production can start in 2020.

TVO is applying liquid absorbers that use bitumen as a material to fix the vibrations, a solution approved by the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Authority (STUK), said the firm.

“Installation of absorbers has been started and will be completed during spring. STUK will audit the installed structures before the loading of nuclear fuel,” it said.

Once the reactors starts, 90 percent of Finland’s electricity needs would be met by domestic production, up from some 80 percent now.

Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos, editing by Terje Solsvik

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