Responsibility report 2017

Nuclear safety

Nuclear safety is the core of our operations.


Our practices

Nurturing safety mindset of the organization is essential in the management of the overall safety of the nuclear power plant - during its whole life cycle. Prioritizing safety, being mindful of the importance of one's own actions, bearing responsibility, openness, learning from own and others’ experiences, and encouraging partners to act safely are key elements of Fennovoima's way of working.

It is of the utmost importance that there is a consensus among all project parties on what is meant by safety, and that everyone working in the project bears the responsibility for safety. Shared safety culture principles were agreed upon to ensure a coherent approach to safety, which all parties involved in the project must follow. Our four safety principles are:

  • Commitment: put nuclear safety first, take responsibility and show a good example
  • Awareness: know what you are doing and why
  • Transparency: communicate and cooperate
  • Continuous improvement: take the initiative and seek to learn more

Continuous observation of these safety principles is a precondition for the safe construction, operation and decommissioning of Fennovoima’s nuclear power plant.

Fennovoima has set three specific goals for nuclear safety culture development and nuclear and radiation safety in its Responsibility Program. The goals are the following:

  • Strong safety culture: Fennovoima continuously develops its safety and keeps safety at as high a level as possible.
  • The highest level of nuclear safety: Fennovoima is committed to the highest level of nuclear safety, resulting in a low risk of incidents and radiation exposure for the environment and public.
  • The highest level of occupational radiation safety: Fennovoima is committed to the highest level of occupational radiation safety. Radiation doses are kept as low as reasonably achievable (the ALARA principle).

Fennovoima has a Safety Culture Program in place to support implementation of the above mentioned principles and to continuously develop the safety culture in the Hanhikivi 1 Program.

Fennovoima continuously develops its safety and keeps safety at as high level as possible

During 2017, the Nuclear Safety Culture Program and its associated procedures were revised as part of making the Fennovoima Management System ready for the nuclear construction. The revision built on experiences gained from the implementation of the previous version of the program, as well as international experience. Two new procedures were written to cover both Fennovoima’s internal safety culture development, and safety culture assurance in the supply chain of the Hanhikivi 1 Program.

The resources of safety culture work were further increased by recruiting a safety culture specialist.

WANO support mission

A WANO (World Association of Nuclear Operators) technical support mission on safety culture was conducted at Fennovoima in May 2017. Experts from various other power companies reviewed Fennovoima’s safety culture program and offered advice. A training workshop for senior management was also held during the mission.

Description of safety leadership and culture

 Fennovoima also delivered to STUK a description of safety leadership and culture during construction for their information. The description specifies how Fennovoima will ensure the supplier’s competence and the appropriateness of project management systems for pursuing the construction project in compliance with the safety culture requirements specified in the YVL Nuclear Safety Guides.

The description also presents how the license applicant will assess the fulfilment of safety culture requirements during the construction stage in respect of its in-house organization, the plant supplier’s organization, and other organizations involved in the project. Requirements for the description of safety leadership and safety culture during construction are stated in YVL A.1, Annex A, Chapter A14.

Evaluation of project site surveys

Fennovoima also initiated an internal evaluation of the project site surveys that the plant supplier conducted at the Hanhikivi peninsula during 2014–2016. The investigation was done in order to confirm that the surveys were conducted correctly and their results have been utilized in the basic design of Hanhikivi 1, especially the selection of the exact location of the reactor.

Phase 1 of the investigation was carried out during 2017, and it focused on the validity and utilization of the survey data. The second phase of the investigation aims to clarify the handling of the topic within Fennovoima. This investigation will be conducted by an independent group of experts during 2018.

The aim of both investigations is to assure the nuclear safety of the Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant and learn in order to develop work practices and safety culture within the Hanhikivi 1 Program. Several corrective actions were initiated during 2017 to make sure the project site surveys are performed and the data is used systematically in the basic design of the power plant.

Safety culture in the supply chain

Fennovoima continued its safety culture assurance practices in the supply chain.

The nuclear safety culture working group met five times in 2017. The working group aims to clarify common safety culture expectations, to increase awareness of the topic among all parties, and to control and monitor the development of safety culture in the entire supply chain and at the project site.

By the end of 2017, the group had official representatives from Fennovoima, RAOS Project, Gidropress, Atomproekt, Atomenergomash, Titan-2, RASU, TVEL and the Kurchatov Institute. The latter three organizations joined the working group at the beginning of 2017. New members will be nominated during the 2018 as the project progresses.

The working group meetings have been whole-day meetings, where topics such as safety culture lessons learned, safety culture and management systems, evaluation of safety culture, safety culture-related documentation, and Finnish requirements in safety culture have been discussed and clarified. In addition to the working group meetings, several other workshops have been arranged, for both manufacturing organizations (chaired by Atomenergomash) and construction organizations (chaired by RAOS Project).


Safety culture audits

In addition to working groups, Fennovoima carried out dedicated safety culture audits in the supply chain. During 2017, six audits were carried out in the following companies: Atomenergomash, Titan-2, Atomproekt, Gidropress, RAOS Project, and AEM-Technology (jointly with a management system audit). Some progress was noted in comparison to the previous year.

Independent assessment of safety culture

In 2017, STUK ordered an independent assessment of the Hanhikivi 1 Program safety culture from the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). The objective of the independent evaluation was to gain a picture of the current status of safety culture at Fennovoima, the plant supplier RAOS Project and the main building contractor, Titan-2, in order to provide information that supports STUK in its assessment of the Fennovoima’s Construction License Application.

The main conclusion of the evaluation was that the safety culture within Fennovoima is acceptable for a license-holder, but some things still need to be improved. Safety culture at Titan-2 and RAOS Project required more improvement.

According to the report, the strengths of Fennovoima’s organization are its working climate, the fact that its employees have adopted safety as a genuine value quite well, and organization being mindful of safety in its practices. The report concluded that the biggest challenge in the Hanhikivi 1 project resides in the supply chain and the ability of Fennovoima to monitor, control and support it, and to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the entire project and the integrity of the design. Fennovoima will conduct a self-assessment of its safety culture during autumn 2018, and the development of safety culture in the supply chain will continue.

Safety observations

The aim of the safety observation system is to facilitate organizational learning and employee involvement. A safety concern can be reported if a person feels an issue is not getting the attention warranted by its significance. Such issues may concern e.g. human resources, legal issues, project management, engineering, nuclear safety, security, occupational health and safety, or safety culture in general. This process supports a good safety culture by giving a legitimate route for reporting of safety observations and by increasing transparency in the organization. The threshold for making an observation should be low in a learning organization, and thus everyone is encouraged to make them.

Fennovoima’s personnel were active in making observations, and a new Observation Team was established to facilitate the handling of observations and follow up on the corrective actions. The critical safety concerns dealt with commenting of documents and management practices at Fennovoima. For both concerns, a corrective action plan was drawn up.

Number of reported concerns 42 18
Critical 2 0
Significant 25 10
Minor 15 8
Number of development initiatives 69 n/a (implemented in 2017)


Preparing for commissioning

Commissioning is one of the main phases of the project. In order to ensure successful commissioning, along with Fennovoima’s priority of nuclear safety, we are committed to investing resources in preparing for commissioning. Two such activities are currently underway: commissioning lessons learned and development of Fennovoima’s employee skills at Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant II (LAES II), which is Hanhikivi 1’s reference power plant. LAES II is situated approximately 70km to the west of St. Petersburg and is currently undergoing commissioning.

Essentially, both LAES II and Hanhikivi 1 share key design aspects, safety features and suppliers. Fennovoima is utilizing this shared design and supply chain to better understand any differences between commissioning in Russia and Finland. Where possible, Fennovoima will also identify any specific lessons learned (technical, organizational, etc.) from LAES II to better enhance the Hanhikivi 1 commissioning activities.

Furthermore, Fennovoima is using LAES II commissioning as an opportunity for observational learning. Individuals from multiple units of Fennovoima (commissioning, design and Operations & Maintenance) have witnessed a number of commissioning activities at LAES II, e.g., containment pressure tests and Passive Heat Removal System (PHRS) tests, improving their knowledge of these systems. If skills and experience gaps are identified within Fennovoima’s personnel, which could be resolved by LAES II ‘On-The-Job’ training, these individuals are deployed to LAES II.

In all aspects of the Hanhikivi 1 project, Fennovoima takes its responsibilities as license applicant seriously and the commissioning phase is no exception. Commissioning at Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant will follow a disciplined and systematic approach to convert newly constructed systems to a fully operational plant in the most safe, efficient and environmentally-friendly manner.

LAES II. Photo: Aleksander Kashin, JSC Concern Titan-2.
LAES II. Photo: Aleksander Kashin, JSC Concern Titan-2.

Final Disposal

In June 2016, Fennovoima entered into a ten year service agreement with Posiva Solutions, a Finnish expert organization in nuclear waste management. The agreement will enable Posiva’s extensive expertise to be utilized in Fennovoima’s final disposal of spent nuclear fuel.

The estimated duration of the final disposal project is more than 100 years. The location will be selected in the 2040s and the final disposal of Fennovoima’s spent fuel will begin in the 2090s at the earliest.

In the Environmental Impact Assessment Program (EIA) for final disposal of spent nuclear fuel submitted in June 2016, Fennovoima presented two alternative locations for the facility: Eurajoki and Pyhäjoki. Field investigations in the Pyhäjoki and Eurajoki research areas will begin in a few years’ time at the earliest.

Resident surveys will be conducted as part of the EIA procedure. At the same time, monitoring groups consisting of key stakeholders will be established to monitor the EIA procedure. The objective of the monitoring groups is to further communications between Fennovoima, the authorities and other interest groups. Local residents will also be invited to small group events.

Currently we are doing design work together with Posiva Solutions. In 2017, we have implemented e.g. a study of geological characteristics that are required from the final disposal location and a research into the final disposal of low and intermediate level waste.

During 2018, Fennovoima will establish a new website for final disposal in cooperation with Posiva Solutions to provide information about spent nuclear fuel and its final disposal in an easily accessible manner.

Image: Ferry Design Agency