Hanhikivi 1 is one of the first facilities where preparations are made for physical protection measures to ensure the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons as comprehensively as possible already during the plant’s design phase.
The aim of safeguards operations implemented at nuclear power plants is to ensure the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The operations are based on the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty signed in 1970. It prohibits the acquisition of nuclear weapons, while allowing the signatory countries to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, such as energy production. The countries that have signed the treaty allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor the use of nuclear material in their country. In practice, Finnish nuclear power companies engage in close cooperation with the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), the European Commission and IAEA to ensure that Finland will not contribute to the spread of nuclear weapons under any conditions.
At the moment, we are making preparations to ensure that the Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant will meet the requirements set for monitoring procedures by IAEA, the European Commission and STUK and we will be able to do our part in nuclear safeguards. Under STUK’s guidance, we are developing Fennovoima’s control system for nuclear materials so that it will meet the needs during the construction phase, while also taking the requirements during the plant’s operation into consideration.
Hanhikivi 1 is one of the first facilities where preparations are made for physical protection measures to ensure the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons as comprehensively as possible already during the plant’s design phase. By taking the requirements related to nuclear safeguards into account well in advance, we save time, effort and money both for us and for parties supervising the operations: STUK, the European Commission and IAEA.
In plant design, we ensure that there are as few access routes to the reactor hall as possible. We also take the physical protection requirements into account when planning the storage and guarding of fuel and, for example, when designing the cable routes and data links for surveillance cameras. The reactor halls of plants must have camera surveillance that continuously sends a live video feed to IAEA. We are also making preparations for the nuclear safeguards needs in the plant’s commissioning phase by preparing an accounting system in which all nuclear materials in Fennovoima’s possession are recorded and their quantities and locations can be constantly monitored and regularly reported to the supervisory authorities.
At the moment, a central part of nuclear safeguards work consists of managing documents and various access rights, as well as reporting. The design documentation for the plant contains a lot of “nuclear dual-use items”. This refers to documentation that could, in principle, be used not only to the peaceful construction of nuclear power but also for the wrong purposes. So, there is a theoretical possibility that someone could use the design documentation for making nuclear weapons. With document management procedures, we ensure that the documentation will not end up in the wrong hands, and that Fennovoima’s employees know how to handle the documents with the required care. Rosatom is very strict about nuclear safeguards, and they carry out their international obligations diligently.
Kaisa Pellinen is Fennovoima's Safeguards Manager, who, in her free time, inspired by the rescue dog activities, roams the swamp in the pouring rain and dark looking for missing people. Before her career at Fennovoima, Kaisa has worked at Fortum and TVO, for instance. In addition, Kaisa has a master's degree in energy and environmental engineering from the Lappeenranta University of Technology.