A 1,650-MW EPR reactor under construction in Finland will begin operation during the latter half of 2013, AREVA said in a press release last week, denying rumors that the project had been delayed again.

Olkiluoto 3, the first third-generation reactor to be built in Europe, was originally scheduled to be in operation in 2009, but it has been plagued by costly delays, including a payment dispute with the reactor’s owner, Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO). TVO and AREVA have asked the International Chamber of Commerce to settle the dispute.

“Construction will officially end in late 2012 when the first fuel is loaded, after which a series of power escalation tests will be carried out by the operator in preparation for connection to the grid in 2013,” AREVA said.

The French nuclear firm, which is building the reactor on a turnkey contract, said work is progressing on schedule. “The main civil engineering work has been completed and the pipes are in the process of being installed. The reactor vessel, installed in June 2010, was recently joined by the pressurizer,” it said. “Installation of the four steam generators has also begun.”

Sources: AREVA

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