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Finland Shuts Down Nuclear Reactor After ‘Severe Abnormal Disturbance’

A nuclear reactor was shut down after a severe abnormal event at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant with elevated radiation levels inside the unit, but no radioactive release in the environment, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) said on Thursday.

The abnormal event at Unit 2 at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, located on the Olkiluoto Island about 220 kilometers (137 miles) northwest of Helsinki, was “possibly caused by a fault in the purification system for the reactor water,” the Finnish authority said in a statement.

The authority has also informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the event.  

“There is no danger outside the unit and no radioactive release is expected. Iodine tablets shall not be taken, and it is no need for other actions as staying inside. The radiation situation outside the unit is normal,” the Finnish authority said.

No personnel have been exposed to radiation and there are no personnel injuries, STUK added.

“There is no indications of fuel leakage and there are no more abnormal radiation levels at the unit,” the authority said.

At present, Finland has four nuclear reactors, which generate around 30 percent of the country’s electricity, according to the World Nuclear Association. As of August 2020, Finland had a fifth reactor under construction, and another is planned. The two additional nuclear reactors are expected to raise the share of nuclear power to around 60 percent and replace coal.

According to Statistics Finland, renewable energy sources—including a large share of hydropower—accounted for 47 percent of Finland’s electricity generation in 2019. Nuclear power generation came second with a share of 35 percent, followed by hard coal and natural gas with a share of 6 percent each.  

Finland aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035, the government said last year, and will rely on nuclear power, among others, for this. As part of the plan, the country has pledged to phase out the use of fossil fuel oil in heating by the beginning of the 2030s.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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