Overview of Nuclear Energy in Finland

Rosa Hamalainen
March 4, 2018

Submitted as coursework for PH241, Stanford University, Winter 2018


Fig. 1: Olkiluoto 3 in construction. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Finland currently uses 27.1 million tonnes of fuel annually, making up 0.2% of the world's consumption. The energy ecosystem is made up of 55% nonrenewables, 25% renewables, and 20% nuclear energy. [1] Finland's nuclear energy is accounted for by its 4 nuclear reactors located at two sites, Loviisa and Olkiluoto, on the Western and Eastern coasts, respectively. All four were in commercial use by the early 1980s, and are among some of the most efficient in the world today. Olkiluoto 1 and 2 combined produce 14.2 TWh, with a 93.5 percent load factor, while Loviisa 1 and 2 produce 7.7 TWh with a 91.1 percent load factor. There is a fifth nuclear reactor currently under construction, called Olkiluoto 3, which is expected to have a net electrical output of 1600 MWe (see Fig. 1). [2]

The Olkiluoto 3 Project

In May 2002, the parliament of Finland voted to approve the building of an fifth plant, and in 2003 they decided its location would be Olkiluoto. [2] This was an especially big decision considering Olkiluoto 3 is the first nuclear plant to be built in the last 15 years in Western Europe. [3] The decision to increase energy production by adding another nuclear plant lends itself to three factors: the public's positive attitudes towards nuclear energy, an effort to decrease fossil fuel use, and the relatively small size of Finland's native energy resources. [2]

Olkiluoto 3 was originally expected to be opened in approximately 2009 with a budget of about €3.2 billion, but is still not finished today. [3]

Causes For Delay

The reactor's original contractors were the french manufacturer Areva NP and Siemens AG. Construction has been ongoing since May 2005, and the majority of delays can be attributed to issues with the reactors instrumentation and control system. [2] Along with construction issues, there were also unexpected costs, such as additional required safety structures. These requirements came as an aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan. For example, one additional expense was the requirement of a concrete dome over the reactor, which had be robust enough to survive a potential aircraft strike. The project is now expected to cost €8.5 billion. [3]


Despite all the complications, Olkiluoto 3 is scheduled to begin operational trials in June 2019, and chief executive of the consortium behind the project, Jarmo Tanhua, believes "the road to completion is quite clear". [3]

© Rosa Hamalainen. The author warrants that the work is the author's own and that Stanford University provided no input other than typesetting and referencing guidelines. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] "BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017," British Petroleum, June 2017.

[2] "Nuclear Energy in Finland," Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Government of Finland, September 2011.

[3] A. Ward, "Nuclear Plant Nears Completion After Huge Delays.," The Financial Times, 17 May 17.