Various types of waste and by-products are generated in electricity and heat production. Ash is a by-product of the use of fuels, and gypsum and other desulphurisation products are by-products of flue-gas desulphurisation. Ash and desulphurisation products account for a more than 90% share, on average, of the by-products and waste from our energy production.
Power plant maintenance generates scrap metal and other conventional industrial waste and, to a smaller extent, waste oil and other waste classified as hazardous. We aim to recycle by-products and waste whenever possible. Waste that is unsuitable for recycling or reuse is disposed of in a landfill. We source waste management services only from reliable, properly licensed waste management companies.
In addition to conventional industrial waste, the Loviisa nuclear power plant also generates radioactive waste, which we treat in accordance with the requirements of Finnish nuclear energy legislation. The volume of radioactive waste generated is small, but special solutions are needed in their treatment and final disposal.
The total volume of by-products and waste generated at our power and heat plants in 2015 was about 601,000 (2014: 697,000) tonnes. Of this volume, 33% was recycled or reused.
Ash and gypsum
Ash is created in the combustion of all solid fuels. Over half of the ash from our plants operating in Europe is utilised as a raw material in, e.g., the construction industry, road construction and soil improvement, and as backfill. In Russia, ash from our power plants is stored in ash basins because there is no demand for wet ash sludge in Russia.
Desulpurisation generates either a wet or semi-dry desulphurisation end product. Gypsum created as a by-product in the wet desulphurisation process at our Meri-Pori power plant is suitable for use as a raw material for the construction industry, and, on average, over 90% is utilised. The desulphurisation product created at the Suomenoja power plant is not suitable as such for utilisation.
In 2015, about 570,000 (2014: 659,000) tonnes of ash, 2,300 (2014: 9,800) tonnes of gypsum and 8,800 (2014: 9,800) tonnes of other desulphurisation product were generated. About 60% of the ash was generated at Russian plants, 15% in Poland and 11% in Finland. The reduced volume of ash and gypsum was primarily a result of the decreased condensing power production in Finland. The ash recycling rate was 33% (2014: 34%) and the gypsum recycling rate 100% (2014: 100%).
Any remaining by-products that cannot be utilised are disposed of in landfills or put into intermediate storage. In 2015, about 390,000 (2014: 444,000) tonnes of by-products were disposed of in landfill sites.
Ash and gypsum handling in 2013-2015 (GRI G4-EN23)
The reported volumes of ash and gypsum from our European power plants are based on the weighing of the truckloads. Ash volumes at our Russian power plants are calculated on the basis of the ash content of the coal.
Nuclear power plant operations generate conventional waste and radioactive waste. Conventional waste is generated e.g. in the transportation of goods, in building and maintenance work, and in office work.
The treatment of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste from our Loviisa power plant is described on Loviisa power plant’s web pages.
High-level spent nuclear fuel is currently stored at the Loviisa power plant site, waiting for the ultimate disposal in Posiva Oy’s final repository
in Olkiluoto in the municipality of Eurajoki. Posiva is jointly owned by Fortum and Teollisuuden Voima. In 2015, 21.8 (2014: 22.7) tonnes of spent nuclear fuel was removed from Loviisa power plant’s reactors. 2.7 (2014: 2.9) g/MWh of spent fuel was generated per produced energy unit.
Conventional waste generated during the operation and maintenance of power plants is sorted, and waste that can be recycled (e.g. scrap metal) is sent for further processing. Waste that cannot be utilised is disposed of in a landfill or is stored so that harmful substances do not seep into the environment, air, soil, or surface and ground waters. Hazardous waste is delivered to licensed hazardous waste treatment facilities.
Our operations generated a total of 27,200 (2014: 27,700) tonnes of waste (excluding the ash and gypsum deposited in landfills); of this amount, 1,700 (2014: 2,500) tonnes was hazardous waste. In addition, 2,100 tonnes of contaminated soils was removed.
The reported volumes of other waste are based mainly on the information provided by the waste companies.
Waste handling in 2013-2015