Two Finnish power companies have launched environmental impact assessment (EIA) processes for the possible future construction of new nuclear power plants at the Loviisa and Olkiluoto sites.
Fortum, owner of the two-unit Loviisa plant, will start the EIA process in April 2007, with completion expected in the third quarter of 2008. “With the EIA process, Fortum raises its preparedness to build a new nuclear power unit in Loviisa,” according to the company's senior Vice President Tapio Kuula.
Noting that electricity consumption in Finland is expected to continue to grow and that new baseload capacity will be needed by the latter part of the next decade, TVO President and CEO Pertti Simola also observed that maintaining preparedness was in line with government policy. “Nuclear power plant licensing is a long process,” he said.
Both companies pointed out that no actual investment decisions had yet been made. Any construction would be a long way into the future, and could be carried out at one site rather than both.
TVO, owner of Olkiluoto, has been through the EIA process before, in respect of Olkiluoto 3, the first new nuclear unit to be ordered in Western Europe in 15 years. Construction work on the unit, an Evolutionary Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR), began in 2005 and completion is expected in late 2010 or early 2011.
Finland’s Nuclear Energy Act stipulates that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) process must be carried out before an application for a decision-in-principle can be submitted to the Council of State. The EIA looks at the new unit’s direct and indirect impacts on surrounding communities, the environment and natural resources. The EIA process gives local citizens and other stakeholders opportunities to express their opinions on the EIA and to influence how it will be carried out, and to comment on the actual estimated environmental impacts. Attitudes to nuclear energy in Finland are generally positive.
WNA: Nuclear energy in Finlandinformation paper
WNN: Newoperation date for Olkiluoto 3