Finnish-Russian Co-operation Secures the Safe Operation of Hanhikivi Nuclear Power Plant

Constant development of human capital and exchange of experiences between partners are pre-requisites for innovation and advances in nuclear technology. This is why Finland is in close co-operation with Rosatom, Fennovoima’s Russian plant supplier of Hanhikivi 1. 

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Rosatom pays attention to learning and education within national nuclear energy projects all over the world. Rosatom Service is the education service provider of the group, offering a range of services covering vocational and advanced education along with training in the group’s operations, also for international partners.

Educational services cover the nuclear infrastructure, operation, startup, maintenance and renovation of a nuclear power plant (NPP), and advanced professional education. In addition, the service provider hosts education centers and training systems at NPP construction sites. The education and training portfolio is complemented by personnel training for overseas projects organized by Rosatom Central Institute for Continuing Education and Training (CICE&T), and the Rosatom Academy, covering foreign NPP infrastructure and operation. Furthermore, the Russian nuclear energy sector is co-operating with foreign companies, such as Tecnatom in Spain, whose supervisors also took part in the Basic Plant course covering Hanhikivi-1 technology. Many of the staff, management and consultants at Fennovoima, the Finnish co-operative in charge of the Hanhikivi 1 NPP project, have also passed the same course, today the company reports more than 250 passes.

The Basic Plant course is one of the first steps in the co-operation that began in 2016 between Fennovoima, Rosatom Service and CICE&T. Denis Podoljakin, project director at CICE&T, says the co-operation has begun well, thanks also to efforts from Atomprojekt and OKB Gidropress. Fennovoima also values the co-operation. CEO Toni Hemminki said at CICE&T’s 50th anniversary, that the 10-year-old Fennovoima is grateful for a partner with 50 years of experience.

An integral part of the international co-operation securing the safe construction and operation of NPPs takes place with regulative authorities in partnering countries. Rosatom CICE&T has organized an international course on nuclear and radiation safety education together with Finnish and Swedish authorities.

In 2014, CICE&T,  the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries RT, and Finedu Foundation signed an agreement to promote the exchange of information between participating companies, as well as to support training programs ensuring the required know-how and expertise within and beyond the nuclear industry.

The Finnish radiation and nuclear safety authority STUK has also actively promoted the exchange of information with Russian companies involved in the planning and construction of the Finnish nuclear power plant in Hanhikivi. In May this year more than 200 people representing Russian contractors took part in STUK’s educational event covering the Finnish nuclear safety instructions at the St. Petersburg branch of CICE&T.

Learning and internalizing the rules and standards laid down by Finland and the EU are a key part of construction, and later also maintenance of  the Hanhikivi NPP. Therefore, a quality management certificate is a requirement for everyone on board, including the Russian contractors. Bureau Veritas has been signed to provide a nuclear industry education program for Russian companies involved in nuclear power construction anywhere in the EU.

A Finnish consulting agency AnCordia is, in parallel with CICE&T, creating a competence evaluation system for each individual taking part in the construction of Hanhikivi 1. The system will be designed to monitor the compliance with the Finnish nuclear safety regulation during the construction phase,  the planning and implementing of control processes, the proper education and certification processes, the full preparedness to co-operate with Finnish authorities, and the maintenance of competence enforcing networks.

In addition, Finedu Foundation is working on another independent competence evaluation program for Rosatom’s construction staff at Hanhikivi construction site. The first phase is, according to Raimo Hovi, a seminar where Finnish experts share the problems that have occurred in nuclear power construction in Finland. In the second phase, a system is created to evaluate the required competence.

- We want to avoid problems that can cause significant additional costs as well as considerable delays, as we have witnessed in Olkiluoto-3. The evaluation system we propose is based on proof of competence, which is adapted to the specific requirements in different phases of construction. We also take into account the fact that this project employs several nationalities, says Raimo Hovi from the Finedu Foundation.

Today, over 90 per cent of more than 400 companies registered at Hanhikivi 1 are Finnish, and the rest are foreign. The key to safe operation of the Hanhikivi NPP is knowing the technology, knowing and obeying the rules and safety regulations, and overcoming any cultural or language barriers. This is the ultimate goal of Finnish-Russian co-operation in personnel education.

The strategic target of personnel training and education is to secure a steady flow of experts into the Finnish nuclear energy industry. Rosatom seeks to promote this also through partnering with universities. There is, for example, a joint Nuclear Engineering master’s degree program with the Russian MEPhI University, St. Petersburg Polytechnic University and Aalto University of Finland. Students joining the program can spend a semester at each of the three universities and write their thesis in their own university. This is how students get acquainted with best practices of the Russian nuclear industry and can carry them further to the Finnish national nuclear energy program.

Aleksei Ponomarenko

Director, foreign personnel education, Rosatom Service

HSE | 25.10.2017

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