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Oldest Nuclear Reactor in Finland Shut Down in Espoo: VTT Info

Finland’s oldest nuclear reactor, the FiR1 in Espoo, has been successfully decommissioned in collaboration with Fortum. This milestone project not only addressed numerous challenges but also established a national mechanism for nuclear decommissioning waste management in Finland. Led by VTT’s principal scientist, Markus Airila, the project served as a model for future decommissioning efforts for commercial nuclear reactors in the country.

The FiR1 research reactor, operational since 1962 for research and healthcare purposes, had a thermal power of 250 kilowatts but did not produce electricity or heat for utilization. The decommissioning process began after the reactor was shut down in 2015, leading to the transfer of spent fuel rods to the United States in 2020. The project also paved the way for the dECOmm development project, which tested various technologies applicable to decommissioning and successfully exported technology.

Thanks to thorough planning and Fortum’s expertise, the dismantling phase of the FiR1 reactor was swift and concluded within the set timeline. The decommissioning license was issued in 2021, leading to the final disposal of waste at the Loviisa power plant’s repository. The successful completion of the project highlighted Fortum’s extensive experience in nuclear facility decommissioning.

More than 40 individuals were involved in the decommissioning process, which spanned several years and involved various stages of dismantling, waste disposal, radiation monitoring, and site supervision. The total decommissioning costs, pre-funded by the Finnish Nuclear Waste Management Fund, amounted to around 24 million euros.

The FiR1 reactor decommissioning project not only marked a significant achievement for Finland but also showcased the country’s expertise in nuclear waste management and decommissioning processes. Both VTT and Fortum gained valuable experience from the project, which can now be utilized in supporting similar decommissioning projects abroad and developing operations in the nuclear industry.

For more information on VTT and Fortum, visit their respective websites.

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