The Finnish EPR reactor starts pre-operational tests The Finnish utility company Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), announced that cold functional tests have begun at their first-of-a-kind EPR unit al Olkiluoto. The unit is expected to be in operation by the end of 2018. Cold functional tests verify whether components and systems important to safety are property installed and ready to operate in a cold condition. The main purpose of these tests is to verify the leak-tightness of the primary circuit. During these tests, which take about four weeks, there will be numerous other tests at different pressure levels. The main coolant pumps will be started for the first time. The pressure is gradually increased in the reactor coolant system to a maximum value significantly exceeding the normal operating pressure. According to project director Jouni Silvennoinen, this is an important step in plant commissioning, and the next milestone will be the hot functional tests scheduled for autumn of 2017. Once this stage has been completed, OL3 will fulfill the preconditions for the operating license. This, Mr. Silvennoinen says, will add to the important milestones to be met before the start of regular electricity production in 2018. In April 2016, TVO submitted its operating license application for Olkiluoto 3 to the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy. TVO expects to obtain this license by the end of 2017.