Fennovoima has submitted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) program to the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy regarding the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the country.
In accordance with the country's Environmental Impact Assessment Act, this program presents a plan, prepared by Fennovoima, for the required analyses and implementation of the EIA procedure. The ministry will act as the contact authority for the EIA and will circulate the program for comments until 7 April.
The possible locations of the new plant are Norrskogen and Kilgrundet in Kristinestad, Hanhikivi in Pyhäjoki, Kampuslandet and Gäddbergsö in Ruotsinpyhtää and Karsikko and Laitakari in Simo. The plant alternatives under review involve the construction of either one unit with a production capacity of 1500-1800 MWe, or two units each with a capacity of 1000-1250 MWe. A pressurized water reactor (PWR) and a boiling water reactor (BWR) are both being considered. Each location's intake and discharge alternatives for cooling water will be identified, and the assessment will even consider the 'zero option', in which the plant is not built.
The project also entails the intermediate on-site storage of used nuclear fuel generated by the new plant, the treatment and final disposal of low- and intermediate-level waste (LLW/ILW), decommissioning of the plant and the implementation of power transmission to the national grid.
A public notice announcing the launch of the EIA procedure will be published next week in Finnish local and national newspapers. The ministry and Fennovoima will jointly organize information and discussion events open to the public in all of the proposed site municipalities during February.
The EIA will be implemented in two stages. In due course, the ministry will submit an opinion, based on the comments and opinions presented in the assessment program. Fennovoima will then draft an EIA report based on the EIA program, the ministry's opinion and various analyses. In the EIA report, the project's impact on air quality, water systems, soil, vegetation, animals, landscape and the developed surroundings will be assessed. The EIA report is to be completed in the autumn of 2008.
It is estimated that the EIA procedure will be completed in early spring 2009. In accordance with Finland's Nuclear Energy Act, the final EIA report will be annexed to the eventual application to the Finnish government for the decision-in-principle regarding the new nuclear power plant. The licensing procedure required by the project cannot be launched until the environmental assessment procedure has been completed. Fennovoima aims to have the new plant operating by 2018.
EIA procedures on two other nuclear power plant units are underway in Finland. The EIA procedure for Teollisuuden Voima Oy's (TVO's) proposed fourth unit at the Olkiluoto plant was launched on 31 May 2007 and that of Fortum Oy's proposed third unit at the Loviisa plant on 26 June 2007. The ministry issued its opinion on these programmes on 28 September and 16 October, respectively, while the EIA reports by the companies concerned are expected soon.