Responsibility report 2017

Environmental management

Fennovoima supervises environmental actions at the entire construction site.

Our practices

Fennovoima’s objective is to proactively prevent and mitigate any environmental impact from the construction work. We assess environmental risks and monitor the state of the environment.

Fennovoima's undertaking for continuous improvement of environmental management relies on training, motivation and leadership, good cooperation with the plant supplier, and effective communication with the environmental authorities and external stakeholders.

Our five main goals for environmental management are: proactively preventing and mitigating the environmental impact of the project, preserving the nature conservation areas and protected species on the Hanhikivi headland and in the Natura 2000 area, ensuring that all operations comply with the water and environmental permits, ensuring efficient construction waste management, and functioning and timely communication with environmental authorities and other external stakeholders.

Environmental management system

The environmental management system (EMS) supports Fennovoima in ensuring that the requirements of environmental legislation and permits are fulfilled and construction operations at the site are executed in such a manner that environmental impacts are minimized. In accordance with our principles, all activities at the construction site must be carried out in a safe manner, and relevant environmental management procedures and instructions must be in place and followed.

The EMS is part of the company’s integrated management system, and it received environmental ISO 14001:2015 certification at the beginning of 2018. It covers Fennovoima’s scope of work at the project site and will, at a later stage, also cover the operations at the Salmisaari premises.

Environmental supervision

The plant supplier, RAOS Project, and all subcontractors working at the project site bear the main responsibility for continuous environmental supervision and fulfilment of environmental requirements primarily within the scope of their own work. The plant supplier is required to supervise the environmental management of subcontractors who perform work within the supplier’s scope of work. RAOS Project has prepared and implemented its own environmental management system for the construction site activities, and it received ISO 14001:2015 certification in 2017.


Proactively preventing and mitigating the environmental impact of the project

Our objective is that the environmental impacts of the construction of the nuclear power plant are minimized as far as possible, and that the work interferes as little as possible with the nature around the construction site area. A risk assessment is conducted before the beginning of each phase of construction work.

Environmental monitoring

Fennovoima and RAOS Project conduct environmental monitoring according to their common environmental monitoring program, which consists of monitoring required in permits as well as additional monitoring to evaluate the environmental impacts of construction activities. Environmental monitoring and studies ensure good

knowledge of the status of the environment of the Hanhikivi headland and provide information that is necessary for applying for permits, as well as for the design of the buildings and structures.

Environmental inspections

In addition, Fennovoima and RAOS Project conduct regular environmental inspections of the Hanhikivi 1 site. Environmental inspections are used to drive continuous improvement of environmental management and to ensure that all contractors comply with environmental legislation and permits and follow Fennovoima’s instructions.

ENVIROMENTAL MANAGEMENT 2017 2016
Non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations No non-compliances No non-compliances
Instances of permit limits being exceeded
(Target: No instances of permit limits being exceeded)
No No
Environmental observations (Target: <50 observations per year) 159 (20 from Fennovoima's scope of work and 139 from EPC scope) 127

The environmental observations consisted mainly of small oil leaks, waste management, and chemical handling-related issues. All observations were handled and appropriate actions taken.


Seawater quality

Water construction work started with dredging work in November 2015, and continued in September 2016 and in June 2017. The water construction work paused for the winter. The next dredging season will begin in spring 2018 with removal of soft soil. Blasting work will begin in the sea area again at the end of May according to the water permit. All dredging work should be completed during 2018.

Fennovoima continued seawater quality monitoring. Water samples are taken five times a year at six monitoring points. Two monitoring points are located in the marine spoil area approximately 10 km from the Hanhikivi headland, and four near the Hanhikivi headland.

Turbidity

The construction activities in the shallow offshore area cause temporary turbidity of the seawater. The shallow offshore area is natural mixing zone, which can be seen in depositions of sand and organic material. Therefore, higher turbidity results have been monitored from the dredging area, and some of the turbidity has spread to north-northeast towards Raahe during heavy winds. Turbidity levels decreased back to normal once the wind dropped.

The spread of turbidity is monitored with a continuous measurement system. The turbidity of the seawater off the coast of the Hanhikivi headland also naturally increases during storms or periods of heavy rainfall.

Oil spill response

Related to the oil spill accidents that took place in 2016 during dredging work, Fennovoima, the plant supplier RAOS Project Oy, the main contractor Titan-2 and the dredging company established a steering group for the dredging work.

A thorough analysis of the accidents resulted in improved prevention of environmental accidents and preparedness to act in similar situations.

During winter and spring 2017, prior to the commencement of the dredging work, more emphasis was placed on proactive prevention measures related to environmental accidents. The oil spill response plan for the construction site was prepared together with the plant supplier, and it has been communicated to the authorities. All contractors at the plant site are obliged to follow the oil spill response plan.Also in May 2017, an oil spill prevention drill was arranged at the project site to enhance cooperation between the companies involved in the Hanhikivi 1 project and the associated authorities and develop the participants' skills in oil spill prevention on land and on sea.

As a result of the improved prevention measures, there were no significant spills during 2017. 

Fishing

Related to water construction work and as required in the water permits, fishery monitoring and studies and fishing industry surveys were conducted during 2017. These monitoring and studies included fish stock surveys of commercial and recreational fishermen, test fishing for whitefish and vendace and production of Baltic herring fry, and coastal net test fishing.

In addition to previous years’ monitoring, a survey of free-time fishermen was carried out. The purpose of the monitoring is to assess the impact the water construction work has on fishing. The monitoring included a survey of commercial fishermen, experimental net fishing, and fry production surveys of whitefish, vendace and herring.

The fishery monitoring report regarding monitoring conducted in 2016 was finalized in May 2017. According to this report, water construction work did not cause significant impacts on fry production of whitefish and vendace. In the survey, commercial fishermen reported adverse impact on fishing, e.g. turbidity of the water, which caused fouling of the fishing nets, and some of the fishermen had to change their fishing areas.

Fishery subsidies and compensation paid to professional fishermen totalled EUR 70,000 in 2017.

Oil spill response drill in May 2017.

Read more about the oil spill response drill and check a video in Fennonen.

Noise

The noise levels can vary greatly depending on the current construction phase. The area influenced by noise during construction and operation is less than one kilometer from the power plant site. The impact of noise on nesting or bird populations is not likely to be significant.

Noise is monitored continuously at seven monitoring points located throughout the Hanhikivi area. The distance from the closest monitoring point to a residential area is about 1 km. The noise levels measured at different measuring points vary depending on the distance from the work location and the time of day (day versus night time).

Average noise levels at different measuring points have been 30–65 dB during 2017 (the same level as in 2016). A level of 30 dB is equal to the sound of a whisper and 65 dB to the noise caused by normal conversation or laughter.

Water construction work caused some noise levels above guideline values measured from the monitoring point next to the sea area. The most significant sources of the noise were blasting warning signals, blasting, loading of rock material and noise from the vessels. The individual peaks in the noise level are also explained by the weather conditions, such as strong wind or heavy rain.

Fennovoima received complaints concerning blasting work at sea during night time. All complaints received were handled carefully. Also, the relevant ELY Centre asked for clarification about the issue from Fennovoima in September.

The dredging company aimed to conduct all the blasting work before 10 p.m. However, one bigger blast was delayed due to technical problems, and it took place after 10 p.m. The blast caused a peak in the noise measurements. Also, it was necessary to conduct some minor blasting work after the intended end of the work time, but according to the noise measurements, this minor blasting work was not the cause of the higher noise levels.

The dredging company will do their best to avoid blasting work at night time by means of thorough and careful work planning during the next dredging season, from May 20 until October 10, 2018.

Air quality

The earthwork, traffic at the site, and certain operations, such as rock crushing, generate dust during the construction work. Most dust sources are located at low elevation levels, so the dust cannot spread far and its impact on air quality will mainly be limited to the construction site.

Dust monitoring has been conducted at the project site since 2015. Fennovoima has conducted dust monitoring especially near the nature conservation areas. Since the beginning of the monitoring, no increase in dust levels has been detected.


Preservation of the nature conservation areas and protected species of the Hanhikivi headland and Natura 2000 area

The Hanhikivi headland’s nature conservation areas and areas defined as habitat types protected under the Nature Conservation Act remain outside the construction areas. Fennovoima uses different measuring methods to monitor that the construction work does not have adverse impacts on the natural values of the conservation areas and valuable nature sites.

No negative changes observed

The nature conservation areas and other valuable natural sites located in the vicinity of the construction site area are outside the construction site fence, and some of the valuable areas are isolated with separate fences. In addition, construction workers are instructed and trained to avoid moving around in the areas outside the site fence.

This is to ensure protected areas and preservation of the natural values. During the year, no negative changes within these areas were observed.

Yellow iris

Some of the protected yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus, IUCN classification: Least Concerned LC) population was located in the construction area and had been transferred during 2015 and 2016 to another suitable habitat on the Hanhikivi headland according to the exemption permits. The final monitoring of all transferred yellow irises was conducted in June 2017. The plants were well rooted in their new location and are growing well.


All operations comply with the water and environmental permits

The Hanhikivi 1 project requires numerous conventional permits to be applied for. The responsibilities between Fennovoima and the plant supplier regarding applying for conventional permits have been agreed. During 2017, some changes were needed for current conventional permits in order to ensure up-to-date permits.

Permit change related to water construction work and to the marine spoil area

 In April, Fennovoima submitted permit change application related to water construction work and to the marine spoil area to the permit authority, the Regional State Administrative Agency of Northern Finland. The agency granted the permit to Fennovoima in August. The permit enables the dredged material to be placed in the marine spoil area to a level of -20 meters from the surface level, instead of -23 meters. The permit change will not cause any additional environmental impact on the area.

Permit change related to excavation and crushing of rock material

RAOS Project applied a change for the environmental permit for excavation and crushing of rock material. The permit change concerned the time limits for crushing operations. The granted permit change allows the RAOS Project to execute crushing of rock material 24/7.

Environmental permit for the operation of the nuclear power plant

Fennovoima was granted an environmental permit for the operation of the nuclear power plant and the back-up power production of the plant in June 2016. The permit also includes the construction of cooling water outlet structures, as well as a water permit for the seawater intake and use as cooling water of the nuclear power plant. In December 2017, the Administrative Court of Vaasa gave its decision regarding complaints concerning the permit. Some changes to the permit obligations were made, and at the moment, the decision is not legally valid. Fennovoima decided to appeal to Supreme Administrative Court, and this was submitted in January 2018.

Chemical permit application

Currently, Fennovoima is preparing the chemical permit application material. The permit concerns the large-scale industrial handling and storage of hazardous chemicals during the operation of the power plant. The chemical permit application will be submitted to the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) during 2018.


Ensuring efficient construction waste management

Construction waste management is based on efficient sorting of waste at the site of its generation, as well as on uniform and efficient instruction of the various parties and companies operating at the plant site on appropriate waste management procedures.
Waste generated during construction is appropriately sorted and recycled, or utilized in energy production as far as possible.

The earth-moving, excavation, and dredging masses generated during the construction phase are utilized, as far as possible, in various on-site filling and levelling operations. The handling, storage, and transportation of hazardous waste is arranged in accordance with the regulations.

Our target of 85 percent of construction waste fractions to be utilized as material or energy was exceeded. For the years 2018–2020, the target is set to 90 percent of the waste fractions to be utilized as material or energy.

Construction waste utilization as material or energy in 2017.

Waste fractions

During 2017, a total of 883 tons of waste was generated at the Hanhikivi 1 construction site. Of the demolition waste, 88.5 percent was wood, concrete and energy waste, which was utilized as material or energy. All hazardous waste was managed appropriately by waste management partners.

The majority of waste from the construction site consists of normal construction waste in different categories of waste (metal, wood, concrete, energy waste, biowaste, paper, cardboard, glass and WEEE). The waste formed as a result of the construction of infrastructure and auxiliary buildings is presented in the following table.

WASTE 2017   2016  
  Tons (t) % of waste Tons (t) % of waste
Construction waste 796 90 % 208 42 %
Demolition waste 29 3 % 259 53 %
Hazardous waste 58 7 % 24 5 %
Total 883 100 % 491 100 %

Waste generated at the Hanhikivi 1 construction site. 

CONSTRUCTION WASTE 2017   2016  
  Tons (t) % of waste Tons (t) % of waste
Wood waste 82 10 % 132 64 %
Energy waste 72 9 % 50 24 %
Concrete and brick waste 212 27 % 14 6 %
Bitumen waste 369 46 % 0 0 %
Mixed construction waste 42 5 % 2 1 %
Other 19 3 % 10 5 %
Total 796 100 % 208 100 %

Construction waste generated at the Hanhikivi 1 site in 2017 and 2016 broken down by type and percentage. The category “Other” includes e.g. metal waste, paper, cardboard and biowaste.

Drainage water treatment

RAOS Project began excavation work in the reactor pit area in spring 2016. During 2017, excavation work continued to the level of -2.0 meters. Around 172 300m3 of drainage water from the reactor pit was treated at a temporary water treatment system before being discharged into the sea. Water from the reactor pit caused temporary turbidity of seawater near the discharge point. Water quality was monitored by taking monthly samples.

Drainage water is visually monitored also in Fennovoima’s excess soil area. Samples of the drainage water are taken every three years, with the next occasion in 2018. The first water samples were taken when the excess soil area was taken into use in 2015. Ditch expansions and small rock dams have been constructed, which delay the water flow and allow particles to settle from the drainage water.


Functioning and timely communication with environmental authorities and other external stakeholders

Meetings with the main suppliers and authorities

Regular environmental meetings between the main suppliers and authority stakeholders at the construction site ensure information flow between different project participants.

Environmental training of the sub-suppliers

The development of environmental health and safety training for the sub-supplier supervisors began together with RAOS Project and Titan-2 in 2017. With the training module, we want to ensure that the environmental requirements set are considered carefully at the plant site.

In addition, all contractors receive information about topical environmental issues, for example by participating in Toolbox training. During 2017, environmental related Toolbox training subjects were chemical handling, oil spill response materials, and making environmental observations.

Informing for the local residents

Fennovoima informs the local residents about the beginning of work, such as rock crushing operations at the project site. The commencement of the dredging work was also made public with ads in local newspapers. As we want to ensure bidirectional information flow between Fennovoima and the local residents, we are developing the communication and information-sharing practices further during 2018. For example, two public events concerning environmental matters at the construction site will be arranged for the local stakeholders. 

Environmental concerns and complaints

Fennovoima has implemented instructions for how concerns and complaints regarding environmental matters are handled. The purpose of the instructions is to ensure that all environmental concerns and complaints relating to activities at the construction site are recorded and appropriate actions taken. The complaints received during 2017 concerned noise, night-time blasting work and turbidity.


Energy supplies with low greenhouse gas emissions must be prioritized to keep global warming below severe levels

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) from human activities are the most significant driver of observed climate change. Energy-related emissions account for two-thirds of total greenhouse gas emissions and 80 percent of CO2 emissions. These emissions must be cut deeply to keep global warming below severe levels while boosting energy security, sustaining the growth of the world economy, and securing the availability of modern energy for the billions around the world who still lack it today.

Energy production with nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases. During the entire life cycle of a nuclear power plant, greenhouse gas emissions are generated during the construction and decommissioning of the power plant and from fuel production.

The lifecycle emissions of nuclear power energy production are similar to wind and hydroelectric.

Lifecycle GHG Emissions Intensity of Electricity Generation Methods (World Nuclear Association, 2011).