Nuclear renaissance hits trouble

Greenpeace protesters on an Olkiluoto building crane on June 1 2007

AS THE world fights climate change by seeking cleaner sources of energy, governments would do well to consider this cautionary tale of a new-generation nuclear reactor site.


The massive power plant under construction on the Finnish island of Olkiluoto was supposed to be the showpiece of a nuclear renaissance. The most powerful reactor built to date, its modular design was supposed to make it faster and cheaper to build. And it was supposed to be safer, too.


But after four years of construction and thousands of defects and deficiencies, the reactor's USD 3 billion price tag has climbed at least 50 per cent.


And while it was meant to be finished this northern summer, Areva, the French company building it, is no longer willing to say when it will go online.