Fennovoima seeks decision on new Finnish plant

14 January 2009

Fennovoima has submitted its application to the Finnish government for a decision-in-principle on the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the country.
In the decision-in-principle application, Fennovoima presents to the Finnish radiation and safety authority, Stuk, all plant-related information required by Finnish rules. Stuk will review the designs and prepare a preliminary safety assessment on each. The Ministry of Economy and Employment will subsequently prepare the decision-in-principle based on Stuk's findings and statements from all other stakeholders. The government and parliament are expected to make the decision in 2010.
According to Fennovoima, the key justifications for the project are "enhancement of Finland's electricity self-sufficiency, fulfilment of the electricity needs of businesses and households, securing the competitiveness of shareholder companies significant for the entire national economy, improving the functionality of the electricity market and the balanced regional development of Finland."


Simo (Fennovoima)

How a nuclear power plant would look at Simo (Image: Fennovoima)

The company is presenting three site alternatives for the nuclear power plant: Hanhikivi in Pyhäjoki municipality, Gäddbergsö in the municipality of Ruotsinpyhtää and Karsikko in Simo municipality. All three possible sites are located in government-defined development areas. Fennovoima said that the construction of a nuclear power plant will "benefit not only the site municipality and its surrounding regional economy, but also the entire national economy." The environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for Fennovoima's project found no environmental problems at any of the three sites under consideration.
Fennovoima will prepare the construction of a nuclear power plant with a rated electricity output of 1500 to 2500 MWe at the selected site. The alternatives under consideration are to build either one large reactor or two smaller units. Fennovoima's plant design alternatives are Areva's European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) and the SWR-1000 boiling water reactor (BWR) or Toshiba's Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR). The company said that al three designs can be adapted to produce district heating in addition to electricity.
Fennovoima said that the alternative sites fulfil the requirements for constructing a nuclear power plant and are suitable for the project. The company said that it would make the final site selection and the design selection once the decision-in-principle has been ratified by the Finnish parliament. It will also apply for a construction licence for the plant once the decision has been made. Fennovoima expects to start constructing the plant around 2012, with commercial operation by 2018 to 2020.
Fennovoima is 66% owned by Power Company SF and 34% by EOn Nordic, a subsidiary of German energy giant EOn. Power Company SF itself is 55% owned by Finnish industrial, retail and services enterprises and 45% owned by local and regional energy companies. In total, there are 64 shareholders in Fennovoima, each of which will be entitled to take delivery of electricity generated by the plant at a cost price in proportion to their ownership in the company.
Finland currently has four nuclear reactors in operating - two at Loviisa operated by Fortum and two at Olkiluoto operated by Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) - providing 27% of its electricity. A third reactor at Olkiluoto is under construction. TVO is also proposing to build a further reactor at Olkiluoto, while Fortum is considering building a third unit at Loviisa. TVO applied for a decision-in-principle for Olkiluoto 4 in April 2008 and is awaiting the government's decision. Fortum has yet to apply for such a decision.