February 11, 2013 / 4:00 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 3-Finland's Olkiluoto 3 reactor seen delayed to 2016

* Reactor originally scheduled to start in 2009

* TVO, Areva trade accusations about who is to blame (Adds comment from Areva, background)

HELSINKI, Feb 11 (Reuters) - 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 Areva-Siemens.

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 schedule. ($1 = 0.7474 euros) (Reporting by Terhi Kinnunen and Geert De Clercq; Editing by Catherine Evans and Jane Baird)

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