According to the Austrian website Solidbau ('industry and technology on construction') Fennovoima announced that 'nothing will happen' at the site of the proposed nuclear power plant at Pyhäjoki, northern Finland, before 2014. Fennovoima is owned by a large group of Finnish companies in need of their own electricity supply as well as German energy company E.ON.
Delaying E.ON/Fennovoima project to 2014 means a two year delay before any construction work has started. According to Fennovoima speaker Timo Kallio, this is not a delay but a refinement of the time schedule. However, Jehki Härkönen of Greenpeace, Helsinki, states that it is certainly a 'significant delay' and not 'refining the schedule' as the company needs to ap-ply for construction permission from the government before July 2015 or it will lose the political permission granted by parliament.
The project's EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) prepared in 2008 says construction is supposed to start in 2012 and the application for permission-in-principle which was prepared in 2009 specifies infrastructure work will start in Q3/2012 and construction of the nuclear power plant in Q4/2013 or Q1/2014. Now the infrastructure work is supposed to start in 2014 meaning the nuclear power plant construction could probably only start a year later. They also announced that the reactor provider won't be chosen during this year. The plant will be supplied by Areva (1700 MW EPR) or Toshiba (1600 MW ABWR), according to the company's website. The coastal municipality of Pyhäjoki is located in Northern Ostro-bothnia on the shore of the Baltic Sea.
The delay seems to suggest E.ON is quite uncertain of its plans. In March, German utilities RWE and E.ON decided not to continue with the development of new nuclear power plants in the UK through their Horizon Nuclear Power joint venture.
But more problems ahead for Fennovoima: The Finnish government has given Posiva (jointly owned by Fortum and TVO, the two Finnish nuclear utilies) permission to expand its planned Onkalo repository, which would enable it to accommodate used fuel from the new Olkiluoto 4 reactor planned by TVO. TVO and Fortum maintain that it could not be extended any further for waste from the Pyhäjoki nuclear power plant, without compromising its longterm safety.
According to Fennovoima's Decision-in-Principle from the Finnish Government in 2010, Fennovoima must by 2016 present either an environmental impact assessment program for an own final disposal facility or present an agreement with Posiva and its owners. E.ON/Fennovoima is engaged in a dispute with the existing Finnish nuclear industry over getting access to their waste project. Currently it seems they are losing this dispute and would need to build one of their own but this is not yet clear. Fennovoima managed to obtain local support for its project by promising the waste would never be deposited in the grounds of the nuclear power plant and it also has no budget for building a repository of its own.
Sources: World Nuclear News, 9 March 2012 / Solidbau (Austria), 8 August 2012 / Company website www.Fennovoima.fi / Email Jehki Härkönen, 9 August 2012
Contact: Jehki Härkönen, Greenpeace Nordic, Helsinki, Finland
Tel: +358 40 197 2620