Finland: Olkiluoto nuclear construction staff to double in 2015

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Work on the OL3 reactor last July. (Yle)
Work on the OL3 reactor last July. (Yle)
Most workers employed at the Olkiluoto 3 site are foreign employees of companies subcontracted for the project.

The number of people working on the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor construction site will nearly double next year.

There are now some 780 people working on the reactor, up slightly from a low in September. Next year that number is to soar by 500-600.

Most workers employed at the Olkiluoto 3 site are foreign employees of companies subcontracted for the project.

In 2011, the Finnish Electrical Workers’ Union revealed that Polish workers at the site were being paid less than two euros an hour.

The following year the Metalworkers’ Union said metal workers were being paid 5-10 euros an hour, while under Finnish terms of employment, their hourly rate should be no less than 13 euros. It also alleged that they were forced to work overtime without extra pay and to live in substandard housing.

Nine years behind schedule

Olkiluoto 3 is the world’s first reactor of the EPR type, developed by French and German companies under the original name European Pressurized Reactor.

The unit’s saga has been long and protracted. The owner, TVO, applied for permission to build the reactor in 2000. Parliament approved it two years later. Work began in 2005, with commercial production expected to begin in mid-2009.

According to the company’s latest estimate, the plant will be completed in 2016 and begin commercial operations in 2018. Testing of its automation system is still in progress.

In September, Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori rejected TVO’s request for an extension of its permit to build a fourth unit at Olkiluoto.

Olkiluoto is an island in Eurajoki, some 20 kilometres north of Rauma on Finland’s west coast.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Oil and gas consultations in Canada’s eastern Arctic next week, CBC News

Finland:  Parliamentary committee greenlights Fennovoima nuclear plant in Finland, Yle News

Greenland: Statoil awarded exploration licence off Greenland, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Oil, Industry and Arctic Sustainability, Deutsche Welle’s Ice-Blog

Russia: Seismic mapping of Russian Arctic will continue — Rosneft, Barents Observer

Sweden:  Swedish NGO delivers anti-Fennovoima petition to Finland, Radio Sweden

United States:  Report says Chukchi Sea drilling runs heightened risk of large spill, Alaska Public Radio Network

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