Big Story 10

Finland's TVO raises claim against Areva over nuclear reactor delays

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) on Monday said it has raised its claim against the Areva-Siemens consortium to 2.6 billion euros ($2.9 billion) from a previous 2.3 billion euros over delays in its Olkiluoto-3 nuclear reactor.

The International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) arbitration court is currently processing a dispute on cost overruns between the utility and the reactor supplier.

TVO, whose owners include Finnish paper companies UPM and Stora Enso, as well as utility Fortum, said Areva-Siemens had kept its counter-claim unchanged at 3.4 billion euros.

TVO Deputy CEO Risto Siilos reiterated that it could take several years until a final decision is made in the ICC arbitration.

In April, sources close to Areva told Reuters that there could be a partial, intermediate award this year.

Areva, which has a bigger role than Siemens in the consortium as it is responsible for the reactor, was not available for immediate comment.

Last year the start date of the reactor, set to become Finland’s fifth and largest, was pushed back to December 2018, almost a decade later than originally planned.

Siilos said that the project is now making progress, noting that Finland’s nuclear safety authority last month had approved factory acceptance tests of the plant’s process control and instrumentation systems.

French state-controlled utility EDF last week said it would buy a majority stake in loss-making Areva’s reactor business.

“We welcome all initiatives by the French nuclear industry that help Areva to carry out the Olkiluoto project,” TVO’s Siilos said, adding that TVO continues to support Areva despite the arbitration.

TVO recently scrapped plans for a fourth reactor at Olkiluoto due to current delays at the site.

($1 = 0.9106 euros)

Additional reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by Jason Neely