Finnish disposal facility contracts grow

08 September 2020

Finnish waste management company Posiva announced it signed a "significant" building services agreement at the end of August related to the construction of the used fuel encapsulation plant and repository at the Olkiluoto site. The signing of the latest agreement follows that of a contract last year with the same consortium.

The construction site of the used fuel encapsulation plant at Olkiluoto (Image: Posiva)

In July 2019, a consortium comprising Hartela Länsi-Suomi Oy, Vesi-Vasa Oy, Ilmastointi-Salminen Oy and Sähkö-Rauma Oy signed a contract with Posiva for the construction of the final disposal facility. That agreement covered the construction and building services of the disposal facility for the technical facilities and tunnels excavated for the Onkalo repository. The value of the contract was about EUR40 million (USD47 million). Work under the contract will last until the end of 2022.

That contract included an option for the remaining building services installations, and this option has now been exercised by Posiva. The new agreement covers the latter part of the contract, where the building services for the disposal facilities will be completed. Posiva said the agreement "will usher in a busy autumn for procurement".

"The scope of the technical installations contract extends the systems to areas such as the collaborative experiment and the first disposal tunnel," said Kimmo Kemppainen, Posiva's programme manager. "Installations are supposed to be completed in stages so that the systems in the area have been commissioned during the collaborative experiment."

Posiva aims to sign 20 this year, of which less than half have now been concluded. Several contracts will be awarded in the coming months, Posiva's Purchasing Manager Jussi Näveri said.

"The next 12 months are really significant from the point of view of new contracts, so that we can get the last big purchases to the finish line, but at the same time we already have a big bundle of contracts in hand," Näveri said. "This means we have to focus more and more on managing what has already been done in addition to the creation of new agreements."

Impact of pandemic

Posiva noted that the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on its procurement programme has so far been moderate, but challenges may lie ahead. This is especially the case for those procurements where no partner can be found within Finland, the company said.

"The ongoing negotiations were really well concluded, even faster than without the coronavirus pandemic. It is less difficult to conclude negotiations with familiar suppliers in advance, but there will be challenges with completely new suppliers, especially international suppliers," said Näveri. "Posiva has a network of suppliers around the world, so the situation of the pandemic in the world, not just in Finland, can affect the progress of procurement."

In addition to the agreement on building services, two other contracts have recently been concluded. In June, an agreement was concluded with Salminen on the building technology of the encapsulation plant and covers safety-related ventilation systems. The second set of agreements concerns the pumping plant of the repository and the fire water line of the encapsulation facility, as well as tanks.

The site for Posiva's repository at Eurajoki near Olkiluoto was selected in 2000. The Finnish parliament approved the decision-in-principle on the repository project the following year. Posiva - jointly owned by Finnish nuclear utilities Fortum and Teollisuuden Voima Oyj - submitted its construction licence application to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in December 2013. Posiva studied the rock at Olkiluoto and prepared its licence application using results from the Onkalo underground laboratory, which is being expanded to form the basis of the repository. The government granted a construction licence for the project in November 2015. Construction work on the repository started a year later. Posiva is still required to obtain a separate operating licence for the facility. Operation of the repository is expected to begin in 2023.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News