Safety and availability
Fortum has long experience in the responsible operation of nuclear power. Our nuclear power plants have a high level of safety, and we develop the safety and availability of the plants based on the principle of continuous improvement.
In 2014, our Loviisa nuclear power plant produced 7.88 (2013: 8.04) TWh of electricity, which was about 12% (2013: 9%) of Finland’s electricity production. The load factor describing the availability of the nuclear power plant was
90.9% (2013: 92.5%), which is high by international standards. The availability of pressurised water reactors globally was about 84% (2013: 83%). In 2014, a normal, so-called short maintenance outage was carried out on Loviisa’s number one unit and an extensive maintenance outage, done every four years, was carried out on the number two unit. In conjunction with the outages, about a quarter of the fuel in both units was replaced.
During the year, one incident impacting safety (level 1 on the INES scale used by the International Atomic Energy Agency) was recorded at the Loviisa power plant. The incident did not cause any danger to people, the environment or the power plant. According to the IAEA definition, INES 1 incidents do not pose a risk, but do indicate a lack of safety provisions.
Availability also in co-owned nuclear plants – with the exception of the Oskarshamn 2 unit – was good. Since the annual outage, the output of Oskarshamn 1 has been
somewhat limited and will continue to be limited until the spring 2015 annual outage. It has been decided to perform an extra inspection outage on Forsmark 3 in spring 2015. Oskarshamn 2 was shut down for all of 2014, due to modifications to improve the plant’s safety and to increase its capacity.
Continuous development of nuclear safety
For the past decade, the European Union has strived to develop its nuclear safety-related legislation. Based on the work done during and after the stress tests on European nuclear power plants, in summer 2013 the European Commission released a proposal for the renewal of the Nuclear Safety Directive. The directive was approved in July 2014, and Member States shall bring into force in their national legislation the regulations necessary to comply with this directive by the middle of August 2017.
In 2014, Fortum continued improving the safety of its nuclear power plants. At the Loviisa power plant, we continued the construction of air-cooled cooling towers that are independent of seawater, and improved flood protection in case of the very improbable exceptionally high seawater level. Construction of a new air cooling system independent of seawater cooling started in 2014, and the system will be completed in 2015. The system will improve the plant’s preparedness for extreme situations in which seawater for some reason becomes unavailable for its normal cooling function.
At the Loviisa power plant, steam generator safety valves were replaced, safeguards against high sea levels were improved, and the main transformer was replaced. Additionally, a periodic, extensive safety assessment will be conducted at the Loviisa power plant, and the results of the assessment will be submitted to Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK during 2014 and 2015.
At the end of the year, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority published requirements for improving safety. Among other things, the authority is requiring plants to have an independent emergency feedwater system. Transitional solutions must be installed at all plants in 2017, and stationary installations by 2020 at plants with an operating life designed for 60 years.
Renewed nuclear power research and development programme
Fortum decided in 2014 to refocus its nuclear power research and development activities. Going forward, research and development will concentrate on three areas: safe and efficient use of nuclear power, growing the nuclear power business, and new technologies in nuclear energy. Our research and development work in 2014 focused particularly on nuclear waste-related research and on the service life management of concrete.
In addition to our own research programmes, we participate in Finnish national research programmes and in the development of Swedish nuclear power research. Fortum also participates in international research projects.