Areva Delays Finnish Reactor Startup to 2018, Disappointing TVO

Areva SA said the nuclear reactor it’s building with Siemens AG in Finland will be commissioned in 2018, two years later than previously thought, fueling tensions with the future operator of the plant Teollisuuden Voima Oyj.

“The principal driver of recent delays to the project has been the reactor instrumentation and control system approval,” Areva, based in Courbevoie near Paris, said in a statement late yesterday. “After a four-year period of exchanges with TVO, the I&C architecture was finally approved in April 2014, giving the consortium a key visibility element to schedule the completion of the project.”

Areva and Siemens are seeking compensation from TVO for billions of losses on the project, which was initially due to be completed in 2009, while TVO also has counterclaims on the consortium. The shares of Areva, which have dropped 36 percent this year, rose 0.1 percent at 9:03 a.m. in Paris.

“It is hard for us to accept such a late start-up forecast given by the Supplier because the completion degree is high, the completed works fulfill very high technical standards and we know what the remaining works are,” Jouni Silvennoinen, TVO’s senior vice president for the Olkiluoto-3 project, said in a statement.

Areva said the updated schedule has no financial impact by itself on the Olkiluoto-3 contract’s loss at completion for Areva, which stood at 3.9 billion euros ($5.1 billion) as of 30 June 2014. The French company, which is also supplying equipment and systems for similar reactors built in France and in China, expects OL3 to be complete in mid-2016, when commissioning will start.

“The updated schedule provided today is based on key assumptions and commitments concerning TVO’s cooperation as the owner of the plant,” Areva said. “From the beginning of the project, the role of the owner is essential to the progress on the project, for example to facilitate the review of technical and safety matters” by Finland’s nuclear regulator, “even more during the commissioning phase which is to come.”

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