Finnish municipality favours Fennovoima plant

10 June 2009

The municipality of Pyhäjoki on Finland's western coast has voted in favour of hosting Fennovoima's proposed nuclear power plant. In the vote, 16 councillors voted in favour, while five voted against.


Pyhajoki EPR (Fennovoima)
How an Areva EPR could look at Pyhäjoki (Image: Fennovoima)
In April, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy requested a statement from Pyhäjoki concerning the decision-in-principle application of Fennovoima. This statement, Fennovoima said, "is crucial to the project, since a positive view of the municipality is required in order for the project to advance."


In its statement the municipal council of Pyhäjoki states that Fennovoima would have a positive effect especially on the economy and population structure of the region. According to Fennovoima, depending on the chosen reactor design, Pyhäjoki would receive real estate tax worth €3.8 to €5 million ($5.3 to $7 million) annually. The municipal tax revenues for the surrounding region would rise to a minimum of €2 million ($2.8 million) per year.


The nuclear power plant would create 400 to 500 permanent jobs, Fennovoima said. The jobs at the plant would also encourage young people, many of whom have moved away from the area, to return.


The site of the proposed plant also stretches into the municipality of Raahe, which submitted a supportive statement to the ministry on 18 May. Its statement said that the proposed plant would benefit the economy of the whole region.


The ministry has requested statements concerning Fennovoima's decision-in-principle from some 80 authorities and other bodies. These statements are to be submitted by 15 June.


Fennovoima has three alternative locations for its proposed plant. In addition to Pyhäjoki, the other two are Ruotsinpyhtää and Simo. All three possible sites are located in government-defined development areas. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for Fennovoima's project found no environmental problems at any of the three sites under consideration. Ruotsinpyhtää voted in favour of Fennovoima's plant on 18 May and Simo's municipal council will discuss the issue on 15 June.


Fennovoima said that it will select the site for the plant based on the decision-in-principle.


In the decision-in-principle application, submitted in February, 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 Employment and the Economy 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.


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.