Quarterly Update: The basic design moves to the next stage

During the last quarter of the year, Fennovoima conditionally accepted most of the materials for the Basic Design Stage 1. Approval of the main contractor Titan-2 was prolonged.

"This has been a challenging year for everyone. Nevertheless, the project has made significant progress during 2020. During these six months I’ve been in Fennovoima, it has been a pleasure to note how committed both our and the plant supplier's experts are to this project. Sure, there are enough challenges and work in many areas, but we now have a clear picture of the situation, and we know what needs to be done. Next year we will strongly focus on construction preparation and readiness so that everything will be ready, when construction starts," says Fennovoima's CEO Joachim Specht.

At the beginning of December, we conditionally accepted the documents for the Basic Design Stage 1 provided by the plant supplier RAOS Project (part of Rosatom Corporation). This part of the basic design is a basis for the Preliminary Safety Report (PSAR), which will be submitted to the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).

"This is a significant achievement for the project. The review of the Stage 1 began in the summer of 2019, and during these 18 months, we have been able to review most of the basic design. Most importantly, we have been able to close a significant number of issues related to nuclear safety. The challenge is still, e.g., designing an automation architecture that is not yet complete. Based on the preliminary data we have seen so far, I strongly believe that the plant supplier will be able to complete the basic design of the compliant architecture in the Stage 2," says Janne Liuko, Fennovoima's Utility Operations Director.

In 2019, we divided the basic design review into two stages. In the first stage, the safety and capacity factor of the plant are reviewed in particular. In the second review stage, issues related to design integrity and plant operation are reviewed. At this stage, we only accept the documentation conditionally. By conditional acceptance, we mean that the design meets the criteria for this stage. Still, open cases must be closed before final approval.

The Basic Design Stage 1 will be reviewed in its entirety when we receive remaining PSAR batches from the plant supplier for review during spring 2021. The stage review assesses the power plant's main objectives and which issues still need to be clarified.

At the same time, we will continue to submit licensing material for approval to STUK and continue our dialogue with the authority on the plant's safety solutions. The review of Basic Design Stage 2 is also scheduled to begin in the spring.

We have now submitted five batches of documents related to the construction license to STUK, the most recent of which was submitted at the beginning of October. The next batch is due to submit by the end of the year. In total, PSAR includes 15 document batches. PSAR is the most important part of a nuclear power plant's license application.

Preparation for construction

The Hanhikivi 1 project is gradually moving from the design phase to the construction phase. In such a large-scale and complex project, supply chain readiness plays a crucial role: all companies involved in the project must be able to implement the plans and monitor their implementation.

During the current year, we have precisely monitored the development of the safety culture and contractor management of the main contractor Titan-2. As we announced at the beginning of the year, Titan-2's approval as the main contractor has been conditional until the end of this year. We have found that the company has improved its safety culture and contractor management during the year. In December, we decided to continue our Titan-2 approval as the main contractor for two years.

The approvals of subcontractors to the supply chain of the Hanhikivi 1 project are always fixed-term. Typically, approvals are given for 3-5 years at a time. However, for safety-classified subcontractors, the time limit is usually three years or shorter if there is a need for specific monitoring in a particular area.

An essential part of Fennovoima's preparations for the construction phase has been constructing an administrative building on the Hanhikivi peninsula. During the late autumn, Lehto Tilat completed the administration building's excavation work and began the foundation work.

Lehto Tilat started the administration building's foundation work 

Dredging work under the jetty and the construction of a temporary dam continued on the site. The rock blasts in the cooling water channel continued until the winter break that began on October 10, 2020. Of the supporting buildings, work continued at the reinforcement workshop and the surface treatment plant. In the storage area rising behind the accommodation village, the erection of steel frames for the halls began.

Works ongoing at the storage area

The construction of the administrative building and the work under the plant supplier's responsibility have increased the site's daily workforce to more than 350. The number has grown throughout the year, even though the majority of office workers have worked remotely due to the COVID-19 restrictions. More than 550 people have successfully passed Fennovoima's Site access training throughout the year, where employees are introduced to working at the Hanhikivi 1 site and the site's safety practices.

Personnel and organization

Due to the COVID-19 situation, no visits to the Hanhikivi 1 site have been arranged during the autumn. Our employees are strongly recommended to work remotely. At the same time, we have been able to take advantage of new ways of working both internally and with external stakeholders. For the first time in November, we organized an information session for the site's neighbors as a webinar. During the session, we talked about topical issues and a radiological environment baseline study conducted in the vicinity of the Hanhikivi 1 construction site.

We reported on coronavirus infections in the accommodation village in November. Two people were diagnosed with a COVID-19 infection in an accommodation village on the Hanhikivi peninsula. In December, one employee was infected at the administration building site. Persons were placed in isolation. The exposed were reached and quarantined by health professionals.

According to an opinion poll completed in December, 74.2 percent of Pyhäjoki residents support the construction of the Hanhikivi 1 power plant. Over the past three years, support has been over 70 percent. Read more about the topic on the new website of the Hanhikivi 1 project.

 

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