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Finnish Reactor Test Approval Will Take Months, Official Says

Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Areva SA, the builder of the Finland’s biggest nuclear power reactor, will have to wait months for approval of a test schedule at the project in Olkiluoto, according to the nation’s nuclear safety chief.

“We haven’t yet seen the schedule of the tests planned by Areva” on the 1,600-megawatt reactor, Petteri Tiippana, director general at the Helsinki-based radiation and nuclear safety authority, said today by phone. “Once we receive that documentation it will take at least a couple of months before the schedule can be approved.”

Olkilouto-3, Finland’s fifth reactor, was ordered by operator Teollisuuden Voima Oyj in response to an increase in power demand of more than 25 percent in the past 10 years. The start of plant on the country’s west coast has been delayed several times and TVO said in February it would start in 2016, seven years behind the original schedule.

TVO doesn’t have a new timetable for the commissioning of the facility and it remains prepared to start commercial operations of the reactor in 2016, according to Kaethe Sarparanta, TVO’s senior adviser on the project.

“We are expecting that an update to this plan will be provided by the builder,” she said today by phone.

Areva didn’t respond to an e-mail today seeking comment.

To contact the reporters on this story: Marek Strzelecki in Warsaw at mstrzelecki1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net

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