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Tukes’ chemical safety permit for Fennovoima Ltd’s nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki

Mediatiedote
24.2.2021 8.54 | Published in English on 24.2.2021 at 11.43
Press release

The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) has issued Fennovoima Ltd with a permit to store and handle dangerous chemicals at Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki. The permit issued by Tukes concerns dangerous chemicals handled and stored at the site, not radioactive substances. The company needs several official permits for the construction and use of the nuclear power plant, including permits related to nuclear and radiation safety issued by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).

Large-scale handling of dangerous chemicals requires a permit from Tukes

Chemicals classified as dangerous will be used and stored at the nuclear power plant in such quantities that a permit must be obtained from Tukes for the operations. 

–   The nuclear power plant cannot be operated safely without the use of dangerous chemicals. The chemicals are used among other things to prevent metal corrosion and secure the availability of cooling energy in the case of disruption. Tukes’ chemical safety permit is a precondition for the extensive storing and handling of dangerous chemicals at the nuclear power plant,” says Matti Peippo, Tukes Senior Officer.

–   The chemicals used at nuclear power plants are primarily the same as those used at other power plants with steam processes. In addition, large quantities of light fuel oil and diesel oil will be stored at the plant, so special attention must be paid to leak control in order to protect the aquatic environment. Oil leaks will be controlled, e.g. by constructing oil tanks in protective basins. In addition, all process water and rainwater from the plant area is directed to the plant’s water purification plants before directing it into the water body. The amount of oil in water is monitored in several phases. The permit issued by Tukes ensures that chemicalrelated hazards can be controlled at the plant,” Peippo says.

Tukes’ chemical safety permit alone is not sufficient for building chemical tanks, tank areas, pipelines and equipment containing chemicals but these are also subject to the requirements of obligations concerning nuclear and radiation safety. In the permit process, Tukes considered that the estimates presented by the company about recognized chemical accidents and their consequences were appropriate and the preparedness measures planned for preventing chemical accidents and limiting their consequences were sufficient. In its permit decision, Tukes placed more specific conditions concerning the amounts of chemicals allowed at the plant, the design, testing and manufacture of tanks and pipelines, the safety of the plant during use as well as preparedness for possible chemical accidents. 

Accidents risks have been estimated and prepared for

It was considered in major accident risk estimates that possible chemical accidents will not have an impact on the area outside of the plant area. It was recognized that accident risks can be caused among others by the storage of fuel for the secondary steam boilers and diesel generators and by the handling and storage of hydrogen, which is used as a coolant in electric power generators, and chemicals harmful to health. 

Among others, chemical accident risks are controlled by designing the plant area in such a way that the distances of buildings from dangerous equipment and their fire protection are sufficient to prevent the spreading of fire in case of an accident. Automatic fire extinguishing equipment is used to prepare for preventing accidents. Leaks are controlled using multiple protection. Water from the entire plant area as well as chemical leaks are collected in a controlled manner and processed at the plant’s water treatment plants.

Tukes will carry out a commissioning inspection on the plant before chemicals required for use can be introduced in the plant area. In the commissioning inspection, Tukes ensures that the terms of the permit are complied with, systems related to plant chemicals, for example, have been constructed as stated in the permit application and the systems can be taken into use safely. 

No complaint has been lodged about Tukes’ permit decision.

Further information: 
Matti Peippo, Senior Inspector, tel. +358 (0)29 5052 059
Kirsi Levä, Director, tel. +358 (0)29 5052 162
email format: [email protected]

Link to PDF-document at Tukes website: Tukes’ permit decision (in Finnish)