* Reactor originally scheduled to start in 2009
* TVO, Areva trade accusations about who is to blame
(Adds comment from Areva, background)
HELSINKI Feb 11 Commercial production at
Finnish nuclear reactor Olkiluoto 3 is likely to be delayed to
2016, utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said, sparking a new
round of accusations between TVO and the builder, consortium
The reactor was originally scheduled to start operating in
2009 but has been hit by repeated delays and soaring costs.
The French-German consortium's last
estimate was for the reactor to be ready by 2014, but TVO said
last July that such a timeframe was impossible.
TVO and Areva have traded accusations about who is to blame
for the delays, and the International Chamber of Commerce's
arbitration court is processing a dispute on cost overruns
between the consortium and TVO.
TVO said on Monday there had been delays in planning the
plant's automation system and that it had not yet received
proper schedule updates from the Areva-Siemens group.
"We have come to the conclusion that there is no chance that
in a year from now we would be test running the plant," TVO
spokeswoman Anna Lehtiranta said.
She said basic procedures in planning the automation system,
such as submitting the layout outline to the Finnish nuclear
safety authority, had not yet been carried out.
TVO's main owners are forest group UPM-Kymmene
and utility Fortum.
Areva said that over the course of the past year, the
consortium had asked for significantly more active cooperation
from TVO in order to obtain the final approval of the detailed
instrumentation and control architecture.
"The Areva-Siemens consortium regrets that TVO continues to
not fulfill its obligations to allow for the project to advance
properly," Areva said.
"Working hand in hand with the customers is a key factor to
success," Areva added.
The Finnish European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) is one of
four of the new reactors under construction in the world. One
such project in France, led by French utility EDF, has
seen similar delays, but two built in China are on budget and on
($1 = 0.7474 euros)
(Reporting by Terhi Kinnunen and Geert De Clercq; Editing by
Catherine Evans and Jane Baird)