There are approximately fifty environmental permit requirements for the plant. Some of them are extremely detailed, while others are more general in nature. The requirements involve water supply, emissions into the water and air, noise, the processing of waste, chemicals and chemical releases, as well as the monitoring of the environmental impact, for example. The thermal load from the cooling water in the immediate vicinity of the plant is the plant’s most significant environmental impact.
Changes caused by the progressing plant design and amendments to environmental legislation impose their own challenges on the management of environmental requirements. We applied for an environmental permit fairly early on in the process, which means that changes made in the plant design will also influence the environmental requirements. Furthermore, some legislative amendments have been made since the submission of the permit application. This means that we must continuously check the compatibility of the plant design, statutory requirements, and permit conditions. We apply for an updated environmental permit from the authorities whenever necessary. Keeping up to date and submitting permit applications at the correct time is of utmost importance.
We submitted the chemical permit application for the Hanhikivi 1 plant to the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) in February 2020. Tukes sent a request for supplementary data for the chemical permit application during the spring. We reviewed the questions together with the plant supplier RAOS Project and we will submit the updated permit application to Tukes by the end of July.
The practical management of environmental requirements – as with the management of any requirements – is the combined effort of a large group of experts, and we are continuously developing our practices to ensure smooth cooperation. As an EHS Manager, my duty is to assist the experts who review the plans in understanding the environmental requirements and ensure that those requirements are met.
Environmental impact monitoring at Hanhikivi headland
We monitor the state of the environment together with the plant supplier RAOS Project in accordance with a jointly agreed environmental monitoring program. In addition to the environmental monitoring required by the permit conditions, we also carry out voluntary monitoring of the environmental impact. This allows us to ensure that we have comprehensive knowledge of the state of the environment in the Hanhikivi headland. The monitoring plan during the construction phase includes air quality, noise, sea water quality and turbidity, fishing, aquatic vegetation, benthic fauna, as well as protected species and nature conservation areas.
We will redefine both the advance monitoring plan and the monitoring plan of the future plant as the hydraulic engineering works proceeds. The hydraulic engineering works currently have the greatest impact on the environment and therefore also on the monitoring results. The preliminary monitoring plan supports the operation phase monitoring plan. Many of the environmental impacts included in the current monitoring plan will also be monitored during the operation of the nuclear power plant. You can read more about environmental impact monitoring in Fennovoima’s year 2019 report.
Coronavirus pandemic changes the ways of working
I was on a few months study leave finalizing my dissertation during the spring when the Coronavirus outbreak began. After returning to work, I have been working remotely same as the majority of Fennovoima employees. In my experience, cooperation with all parties working in the Hanhikivi 1 project has proceeded smoothly regardless of the restrictions brought about by COVID19.
Also, the works at the Hanhikivi construction site have proceeded normally during the COVID19 pandemic. The minimum staff required by the construction activities has been maintained at the construction site. The fishery monitoring following water permits continued in the sea area off the coast of Hanhikivi headland in the spring. In addition, we continued environmental monitoring focusing on e.g., the occurrence of Moor frogs, Siberian Primrose and Yellow Iris in the area.
Lauri Erävuori, a Biologist from specialist consulting company Sitowise, performed a regular vegetation and habitat type study at Hanhikivi headland in June 2020.
Fennovoima’s EHS Manager (Environment, Health and Safety)
Paula Saavalainen has been working at Fennovoima since April 2018, first as EHS Specialist and from spring 2020 as EHS Manager. In her role, Paula is responsible for the oversight of environmental, occupational health and safety activities at Fennovoima. Prior to Fennovoima, she worked twelve years in environmental management and engineering positions in the electronics industry and as a researcher in the field of environmental technology at the University of Oulu. Paula has been finalizing her dissertation during the spring. The topic of her doctoral thesis is sustainability assessment tool for the design of new chemical processes. In her free time, Paula enjoys boating and as a new owner of a summer cottage, all of Paula's free time in the future will be spent pottering around the cottage.