Building a nuclear power plant

The work done at the construction site of a new nuclear power plant does not differ much from the building and installation work done during construction of any large-scale industrial facility. Special features include a long construction period and the scope of the site. Furthermore, the work quality requirements are stricter in the case of a nuclear power plant . This can be seen in the rigorous contractor selection process and detailed monitoring of the work by the authorities and other parties.

Construction phases and responsibilities

The construction project of a nuclear power plant can be roughly divided into three phases: two phases in preparation for the construction of the plant, during which the infrastructure and supporting structures are built, and the actual construction of the nuclear power plant. The large-scale construction project has been divided into two scopes of supply: Fennovoima’s own scope and the plant supplier’s scope.

The preparatory works, taking place mostly between 2015 and 2019, consist of jobs included in the scopes of supply of both Fennovoima and the plant supplier RAOS Project. For example, the construction of auxiliary buildings and roads, dredging, water construction, and excavation. When these works have been completed, the construction of the nuclear power plant can start. Under the Nuclear Energy Act a construction license is required to build a nuclear power plant. The nuclear power plant consists of a reactor building, a turbine building, a control room building, and fuel buildings, among others. The highest number of people involved in the construction of the nuclear power plant at one time will be around 4,000.

The construction phases will take a long time. During each phase, Fennovoima will complete comprehensive surveys in cooperation with the plant supplier RAOS Project and other experts. Continuous, close interaction with the authorities to ensure a proactive approach is also important throughout the project period.

Fennovoima’s scope of supply

Fennovoima will be in charge of the construction of the basic services for the plant site, supporting functions, and auxiliary buildings, as well as electrification of the plant site and other municipal engineering systems. Construction projects in this scope include an administrative building, a plant office, and a fire station.

The scale is already large at the preparatory phase: building of the infrastructure and supporting services is valued at around EUR 400–500 million.

Plant supplier’s scope of supply

The plant supplier, RAOS Project, will build the nuclear power plant. RAOS Project will be responsible for all operations relating to the design, licensing, construction, and commissioning of the power plant, as well as the associated project management. Furthermore, RAOS Project’s scope of supply includes major land and water construction projects, such as the excavation of cooling water tunnels, the construction of seawater intake and discharge structures, the construction of a pier and other water structures, dredging, and the excavation of foundations.

The plant supplier has selected the Russian Titan-2 as its main contractor. Titan-2 has substantial experience in constructing similar NPPs. It will bid out most of the contracts relating to the site. Construction of the nuclear power plant’s nuclear parts and the pouring of main concrete structures will start once the construction license for the nuclear power plant has been granted.

Site agreement

The site agreement is an agreement between Fennovoima, RAOS Project, and key labor market organizations on shared rules for the Hanhikivi 1 construction site.

It ensures that all relevant parties follow Finnish legislation and cooperation practices during the construction of the nuclear power plant. Included among the issues governed by the agreement are exchange of information, problem-solving, labor union representation at the site, and practical measures to be taken to fight the gray economy. Furthermore, preparations are underway for the establishment of an authority service point in the vicinity of the construction site to provide employees and companies with information on a variety of issues.

Careful documentation

The special characteristics of the Hanhikivi 1 project include detailed advance planning, statutory inspections, and careful documentation of the work phases. All work phases must be traceable and reviewable for the life of the nuclear power plant, so that the safety and quality of the products can be guaranteed under all conditions.