Finnish government gives go ahead to new nuclear reactors

nuclear1The Finnish government has endorsed applications from two companies for the construction of two new nuclear reactors.

The decision, announced last week, saw government approval granted to bids from Fennovoima and TVO. A third application, from Forturm, was rejected.

Forturm’s two existing Loviisa nuclear reactors are expected to reach the end of their life cycles in around 15 years, and the company will now consider investing in nuclear energy projects outside Finland.

The remaining two operational Finnish nuclear energy plants are owned by successful bidder TVO in Olkiluoto, where the fifth reactor is already under construction, due to be followed shortly by the sixth. Fennovoimna, meanwhile, is a relative newcomer to the field of nuclear energy. It has unveiled plans to construct a new power station in Lapland’s Simo or in North Ostrobothinia’s Pyhajoki region.

The majority National Coalition Party originally wanted to approve the three licence applications but has settled for two following opposition from The Green League, according to a report by Helsingin Sanomat.

Mauri Pekkarinen, Minister of Economic Affairs, argued that the granting of the two licenses will bring greater competition to the electricity market. The other deciding factor was the hope of ridding Finland of its reliance on Russian electricity imports and making the country more self-sufficient.

There have, however, been fears expressed by opponents of the endorsement that Finland could become the world’s largest producer of nuclear waste. “A majority in government has caved in to the National Coalition Party, and has decided to produce as much new nuclear energy as is practically possible,” said Paavo Arhinmaki, the Left Alliance leader.

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