‘Serious’ nuclear incident in Finland but no radiation leak

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A nuclear reactor in Finland entered an automatic shutdown after a radiation spike was detected inside the plant’s systems on Thursday, but no radiation escaped the facility.

“This is a significant and an exceptional incident and we consider it important to spread correct information about it,” Finland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen told reporters.

The elevated readings stemmed from a room regularly showing higher values during normal operations, and no power company employees had been exposed to radiation or were injured. Jarmo Tanhua, CEO of the nuclear power plant operator TVO, said the incident was an unparalleled event in the facility’s history. TVO is a consortium of power and industrial companies.

“There is no danger to people or the environment” from the incident at the Olkiluoto 2 power plant in western Finland, said Tomi Routamo, deputy director at nuclear safety authority STUK.

Finland receives about one-third of its energy from nuclear sources, and two new nuclear reactor construction projects are currently under way in the Nordic country.

The most advanced of them, a third reactor at the Olkiluoto site, is running more than 10 years behind schedule because of hold-ups with the plant’s supplier, the French-led Areva-Siemens consortium.