Finnish new build decision 'soon'

08 March 2010

The government of Finland is likely to start discussions on whether to licence the construction of a new nuclear power plant this month, according to reports in the country's media. National broadcaster YLE reported that the four parties in Finland's coalition cabinet have agreed a timetable for its consideration of an expansion of the country's nuclear generating capacity. According to economic affairs minister Mauri Pekkarinen, as there are no legal arguments remaining over the applications for a sixth nuclear plant lodged by Fortum, Fennovoima and TVO, the decision on whether to licence the construction of new reactors, and if so how many, will be a political one. The four political parties in Finland's coalition government have differing views on how many new plants should be licensed, ranging from the Greens, wanting none at all, to the National Coalition Party, which would like all three applications to be given the go-ahead. According to the Finnish media, Pekkarinen has said he plans to bring a government proposal before parliament in March or April, leading up to a parliamentary decision in June. TVO and Fortum have submitted applications to build new plants at their respective existing sites of Olkiluoto and Loviisa, while Fennovoima's application is for a new plant at either Pyhäjoki or Simo in northern Finland. The company withdrew a third possible location, Ruotsinpyhtää, from its application in November 2009.