Finnish officials reject nuclear plant investor Ft.com By David Crouch in Gothenburg, July 16, 2015 Finland’s plan to build a nuclear power station with help from Russia has been thrown into doubt after officials in Helsinki rejected a mysterious investor that it is alleged has links with Moscow.
The move raises a fresh obstacle to the project, which has been dogged by accusations that Finland is placing Russian interests before EU foreign policy objectives.
Finland’s economics ministry said on Thursday that the ownership of Migrit Solarna Energija, a Croatian group listed as owning almost 9 per cent of the Fennovoima project, could not be “adequately verified”.
The ministry said it could not establish with certainty that the company was “factually controlled” from inside western Europe.
Finland’s government has insisted that 60 per cent of the €6bn–€7bn cost of the nuclear plant should be borne by companies residing or domiciled in the EU or the wider European Free Trade Association, which includes Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.
However, without Migrit, this requirement will not be met — which means either a new investor or additional investment from existing shareholders.
“We cannot speculate on who Migrit is controlled by,” said Herkko Plit, a senior civil servant in the economics ministry. “It has many relations to foreign countries, not just Russia. But . . . those people who founded it originally were Russians. The current owners are also Russian citizens to the best of our knowledge.”
Fennovoima plans to begin construction of a 1,200-megawatt reactor at Pyhaejoki in northern Finland in 2018, with operation due to begin in 2024.
But the company has struggled to find backers after the main original shareholder, the German utility Eon which had a 34 per cent stake, withdrew in 2012 after energy prices fell. Rosatom, the Russian state-owned nuclear company that will build the plant, now owns a 34 per cent stake.
Olli Rehn, a former European commissioner who in April became economics minister in Finland’s rightwing coalition government, said a decision on the future of the Fennovoima project would be referred to a meeting of the government on August 6.
“It seems that behind the Croatian company are Russian financiers,” Mr Rehn told YLE, the Finnish broadcaster, although he declined to say whether he believed that Migrit was linked to Rosatom………..
anti-nuclear campaigners said the new doubts about the project should be enough to kill it off. “It should be a sign to the government — if they cannot find investors the plant is not viable,” said Sini Harkki, Greenpeace programme manager for Finland.
She said it appeared that Migrit was “a front for Russian capital”.
“Fennovoima has had several years to find investors, and all it has found was this small Croatian company,” she added. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/601da0a4-2bda-11e5-acfb-cbd2e1c81cca.html#axzz3g6DMCh5d
That’s not the end of nuclear problems in Finland. The country is suffering through a protracted mess with Areva, the French nuclear company, over the building the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant. The project is years late and billions over budget with no end to the problems in sight.
With lessons like those from Rosatom and Areva’s Finnish nuclear projects, it is no wonder that in Finland the public majority is against nuclear.
It has been said often on the Nuclear Reaction blog but bears repeating: the nuclear industry really can’t be trusted. A good case in point is the bizarre antics in Finland right now. On June 30th, Fennovoima, a Finnish utility, submitted an application to the government to build a nuclear plant. One of the utility’s partners is Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear corporation.
To apply for a license, the government requires the project to be 60% owned by companies from the European Union or the European Trade Association. The 60% criterion was put in place by the Finnish government in order to control Russian influence over the country’s energy policy. And that means that Rosatom can’t be the biggest player in this game.
But, a strange thing happened on the filing deadline of June 30. Out of the blue, a new financing partner was found so that the project could meet the 60% rule and could go ahead. At least, that’s the claim.
Greenpeace Nordic decided to take a closer look at this strangely fortuitous development for Rosatom’s Finnish nuclear project. We uncovered what appears to be quite a different story, from a serendipitous turn of events in the form of a new nuclear investment partner.
Instead of a viable European company with a track record that would suggest it is a credible business partner, Greenpeace found a Croatian company, Migrit Solarna Energija, that operates out of an apartment block in Zagreb. It has no employees, capital stock of only 26,000 Euros, and absolutely no income in 2012-2013. And yet, this company is supposedly going to be able to contribute 150 million Euros to the project?
More importantly, Greenpeace found what appear to be strong ties between this tiny company holed up in an apartment complex, and Russia’s nuclear giant, Rosatom. Continue reading
Trees have been felled and roads built in the area, even though the government has not yet granted the final building permit. Fennovoima only has a provisional permit granted last year and must seek a final permit this summer in addition to a permit from the local municipality to begin building work.
Most of the cottages located on the Hanhikiviniemi peninsula have already been purchased by Fennovoima, but the last few holdouts are now subject to compulsory purchase orders. According to the orders, the cottages must be vacated and handed over by the end of May, even though appeals against the compulsory purchase orders are still pending.
Protests on the way Fennovoima currently controls around 990 acres of land and water at Hanhikiviniemi, and this will increase to 1,235 acres with the new acquisitions.
The local Pro Hanhikivi group is opposed to the project, but is also resisting the influx of activists who are camped out in protest at the ongoing construction work. The group is planning a legal challenge to Fennovoima’s actions, and says it does not support protests by more radical groups.
“We want the court to take a view on the principle of whether it’s allowed to grant a permit to start construction that is irreversible,” said Pro Hanhikivi vice-chair and Green League MP Hanna Halmeenpää.
She says the local council’s decision to allow initial building work to proceed is against Finland’s municipal laws and runs counter to the principles of good governance.
The Fennovoima plant was originally approved by parliament in 2010, but planning delays and financing issues have dogged the project since then. Last autumn the Green League walked out of government in protest at the arrival of Russian firm Rosatom as the contractor and part-owner of the plant.
The Greens felt that such a major change in the plans meant they should be re-considered from scratch.
Even then, financing was not secure until state-owned energy firm Fortum stepped in to take a major stake in Fennovoima. According to the original terms on which the project was approved, a majority of the ownership should be in European, meaning European Union, hands.
The project has also prompted opposition in Sweden, where 20,000 people signed a petition opposing the new reactor. Pyhäjoki is located just 96 miles from the Swedish coast.
This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch News as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.
ANTINUCLEAR RESISTANCE IN PYHÄJOKI, FINLAND – JOIN THE STRUGGLE!
2.5.2015 HYOKYAALTO The Fennovoima Energy Company is starting to construct a nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki, a nice, quiet and small municipality in the northwest of Finland. An action camp has been started in the area to stop the project.
During the second half of April, Fennovoima cut 95 hectares of very special coastal forest at the construction site. They didn’t wait for a month for the legal permission to clearcut the landscape. Instead, Fennovoima started destroying the forest on Wednesday, the 15 of April. The forest was a home for several rare birds and other species. Nests of endangered white-backed woodpeckers (Dendrocopos leucotos) were destroyed, a very rare white-tailed eagle got disturbed as dozens of machines demolished its neighborhood.
The operation was carried out by the Waste Management Company Lassila & Tikanoja. The fast start of the cutting was a shock for many people and organizations. The local nature conservation association, the bird protection association and the antinuclear organization Pro Hanhikivi that have been opposing Fennovoima complained and demanded to stop the cutting of the forest immediately. The nesting season of the birds had started already. Many antinuclear people resigned their waste management contract with Lassila & Tikanoja immediately.
In Helsinki 5 people from the Hyökyaalto Eco Action Group took necessary action and entered the headquarters of Lassila & Tikanoja, in order to distribute flyers to the workers in their offices and they refused to leave the building before the cuttings would be stopped. Three people were carried out by police and arrested. They were released on the same day.
We, the Hyökyaalto Eco Action Group, had already planned to start a camp at the forest area, but now we had to hurry. …….
n the camp all kind of little disturbing of the work process became a daily routine. The only road to the cabins goes through the clean cut area and is used by the cutting workers, so people who used the road slowed down the disturbing of the environment whenever there was a log truck or security car on the road. Soon the security company forgot that the road is a public road and started stopping cars from getting to the shore area where the cottages are and accused us as well as the locals for trespassing in the area. Fennovoima’s illegal attempts to try to occupy the cape, while it was still privately owned and public accessible land, raised even more anger amongst the residents.
On Saturday the next bigger blockade was carried out by the activists. ……..
In the last few days there has been more and more critical news about Fennovoima and their actions. There are only two months left until the deadline on June 2015, when Fennovoima needs to have 60% Finnish ownership according the government officials, and it´s still lacking investors. The Finnish state partly owns a company named Fortum and they are negotiating about Russian involvement in hydropower and are about to buy 15% of Fennovoima. If that wouldn´t happen, Fennovoima would be in deep problems. They would probably not be able to cut themselves off of the construction contracts before 1th of July when their decision in principle (permission from the government and parliament) will expire and they would need to start the whole political process again.
Many people wonder if any reasonable company would be willing to jump into the mess Fennovoima has created, or still consider if they want to confirm the old contracts……….
. This spring and summer will be a period of active resistance for us, and we don’t intend to leave the area after the summer period either. Now is the best moment to make the greedy nuclear power project fall. Still, we need help!! Join the resistance!
Right now, we have been more than successful in our fight against Fennovoima. We have supporters and several different resources to continue our resistance. We have found a vast majority of people positively supporting us through social media, email, phone, and the local supporters have been generous in providing us with clean drinking water, washing facilities and shelter.
And yet, nevertheless, more people are needed here, in Pyhäjoki. ……..
The final expropriation date has been set by Fennovoima to the end of May. This is the most important time to gather at the cape of Hanhikivi, the most beautiful place of nature that Finland has to offer for nature lovers, families and those who love to see rare species of animals in their natural environment.
Check http://hyokyaalto.net – People Power Against Nuclear Power Action Camp – for camp info and directions for getting to Pyhäjoki.
Call: +358 466 28 67 68 http://hyokyaalto.net/2015/05/02/antinuclear-resistance-in-pyhajoki-finland-join-the-struggle/
The Finnish politicians have apparently not learned anything from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.
OL4 appears, thankfully, to have been shelved for the time being. But OL3, one of the ten most expensive construction projects in the world and beset by delays and astronomical costs, could end up as the world’s biggest nuclear mausoleum.
The Fennovoima project, however is still going ahead. But an active citizens’ movement has come together to oppose it, and they may yet succeed.
Finland’s new government (not yet appointed at the time of writing) will have the decision in its hands, as they will have to decide about the construction permit application that Fennovoima is to submit in July this year.
Russian roulette? Finland’s inexplicable nuclear obsession, Ecologist Ulla Klötzer
1st May 2015 Does Finland suffer from a nuclear death wish? So it seems, writes Ulla Klötzer. Its government responded to the world’s two greatest nuclear disasters by … ordering a new nuclear plant. And as the Olkiluoto nuclear project descended into face and litigation over a disputed €5 billion, they resolved to build two more. This time, supplied by Russia’s nuclear weapon-maker Rosatom.
Finland was the first western country to decide to build a new nuclear power plant after the Chernobyl accident, as well as after the Fukushima catastrophe – despite of almost all opinion polls showing that a majority of Finns are critical to nuclear power.
The first project, decided upon in 2002, was at the existing Olkiluoto nuclear site – the OL3 European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), a ‘third generation’ pressurized water design.
The construction work started in 2005 and the reactor was to be connected to the grid in 2009. The fixed turnkey-price was €3.2 billion. According to Areva, EPR is “a reactor with an unparalleled level of security, extremely resistant to both internal and external risks.”
Today, the price has soared to about €9 billion and the reactor is estimated to be completed only in 2018. According to the Helsinki Timesin November 2013, the OL3 reactor may upon completion become the most expensive building in the world. Continue reading
Nuclear watchdog seeks re-check of Olkiluoto 3 reactor yle 18 Apr 15 The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) is demanding that energy utility TVO carry out new tests of the durability of the pressure vessel planned for the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor. This follows a recent discovery by French officials of inconsistencies in the mechanical toughness of a vessel made for a similar reactor, also being built by the French company Areva.
The third unit for the Flamanville, France reactor was built by Areva in France, while the one to be used in the Finnish reactor has been assembled in Japan. Both units are of the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) type.
“There are inconsistencies in the material that the reactor vessel is made of,” Tapani Virolainen, Deputy Director of STUK’s Nuclear Reactor Regulation Department, confirmed to Yle…….Virolainen explains that anomalies were found in both the reactor vessel head and reactor vessel bottom head. He says STUK will ask TVO to re-check the reactor vessel’s manufacturing process…….http://yle.fi/uutiset/nuclear_watchdog_seeks_re-check_of_olkiluoto_3_reactor/7937448
Majority of election candidates oppose further nuclear reactors YLE UUTISET 15 Mar 15 An Yle survey of 1,800 parliamentary hopefuls ahead of next month’s election found that 57 percent say they would not grant any more licences to construct nuclear plants. The conservative National Coalition Party was by far the most in favour of nuclear power, with the Greens and Left Alliance the most strongly opposed.
The majority of candidates in Finland’s upcoming parliamentary election have said they would oppose granting licences to build any new nuclear reactors.
Responding to questions on their attitudes to nuclear power during Yle’s interviews with 1,800 election hopefuls, 57 percent of candidates said they would not agree to any more building licences being granted.
The majority of candidates expressed clear views on the divisive issue of nuclear power, with only five percent of respondents saying they were neither in favour or against……http://yle.fi/uutiset/majority_of_election_candidates_oppose_further_nuclear_reactors/7869059
Radiation watchdog wants harder look at children and smartphones YLE UUTISET, UUTISET NEWS 9 Dec 14 Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK hopes to see more research on the possible impact on children of the radiation emitted by smartphones, reports Yle’s investigative programme MOT. However STUK does not have the funding for a study and government spending cuts have closed its own radiation biology laboratory.
According to a study by mobile services operator DNA, 75% of children in Finland between the ages of 6 and 12 have their own smartphones.
Smartphones emit more radiation than do basic talk-and-text cell phones since they generate radiation even when they are not actively being used. No data is available on what the daily level of radiation is that children are subject to from these devices, or how this radiation affects children in particular.
“Overall estimates concerning the current situation are not available. We do not know the impact, for example, of the levels of internet usage. This would be an interesting research subject,” says Tommi Toivonen, Head of Laboratory at STUK’s Department of Radiation Practices Regulation.
More specifically, the biological effects of this radiation on children are unknown……….http://yle.fi/uutiset/radiation_watchdog_wants_harder_look_at_children_and_smartphones/7676646
Writer warns MPs about nuclear contractor Rosatom, YLE UUTISET, 5 DEc 14, Finnish author Risto Isomäki issued a warning letter about the Russian nuclear contractor Rosatom to MPs as they prepared to vote on granting a new permit for a nuclear power project in the country’s northwest. The missive paints a disturbing picture about a nuclear plant constructed by Rosatom in India. Environmentalist and science fiction writer Risto Isomäki’s letter to MPs centres on Rosatom’s turnkey nuclear power plant project in India and has been reproduced in the Social Democratic Party organ, Demari, as well as in social media.
According to Isomäki the first reactor of a nuclear power facility constructed by Rosatom in Kudankulam in India has suffered 14 spontaneous power outages in the year since it has been completed. It has also been taken offline five times for repair and maintenance work in the same one-year period, he writes. The author claimed that according to his information the reactor has now been shut down because it has not passed final commissioning tests.
One of the recipients of the letter was National Coalition Party MP, Harri Jaskari, who also sits on the Parliament’s Finance Committee. Jaskari said that the claims made by Isomäki about the Indian facility were not previously known to committee members……..http://yle.fi/uutiset/writer_warns_mps_about_nuclear_contractor_rosatom/7673069
Parliamentary committee greenlights Fennovoima nuclear plant in Finland Alaska Dispatch NewsYLE NewsEye on the Arctic November 27, 2014 Parliament’s Finance Committee voted Thursday to grant a new decision-in-principle for the construction of a nuclear power plant by the Finnish power consortium Fennovoima.
Members of Parliament from the Green League and the Center Party opposed the vote.
The committee upheld the government’s decision to accept changes to the application for a new nuclear power plant to be constructed at Pyhäjoki in northern Ostrobothnia. Members voted 14-2 to give a green light to the Finnish power consortium Fennovoima, which has contracted the Russian state-owned nuclear plant provider Rosatom to build the nuclear facility. Rosatom currently owns 34 percent of the proposed nuclear project. MPs opposing the decision were the Greens’ Johanna Karimäki and the Center Party’s Antti Kaikkonen………
The Greens have long objected to the addition of nuclear capacity and have called for greater investment in renewable energy sources — and in fact based their participation in Jyrki Katainen’s administration on a government undertaking not to construct any new nuclear power plants.
At the time of their departure from government, Greens leader Ville Niinistö also criticised the decision to ink a major deal with a Russian state-owned company at a time when the EU had imposed trade sanctions against Russia over its role in the conflict in Ukraine.
This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch News as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations. http://www.adn.com/article/20141127/parliamentary-committee-greenlights-fennovoima-nuclear-plant-finland
* New one-year delay adds up to 10-year building period
* EDF says Areva unable to deliver key ingredients in time
* EDF still committed to EPR for UK Hinkley Point project (Adds EDF quote, background)
PARIS, Nov 18 (Reuters) – French utility EDF announced a new one-year delay for its Areva-designed EPR nuclear reactor in Flamanville, France, which it now expects to be connected to the grid in 2017, a decade after construction started.
EDF said the delay was due to Areva’s difficulties with ensuring a timely delivery of certain pieces of equipment, such as the lid and internal structure of the reactor vessel. It also said Areva had briefed it on a steam generator welding defect.
Construction on the Flamanville EPR reactor started in 2007 and it had initially been scheduled to be connected to the electricity grid in 2012, but it has been delayed repeatedly…….Four EPRs are under construction worldwide, one in France, one in Finland and two in China, but the Finnish and French projects have been plagued by billion euro cost overruns and multiyear delays.
Construction on the first EPR in Olkiluoto, Finland started in 2005 and it had originally been scheduled to go live in 2009, but it is now expected that will occurr in late 2018, almost a decade later than originally planned. Construction will have lasted 13 years, if it is not delayed again……..
Last month, European Union competition authorities gave the green light for state subsidies to EDF’s 16 billion pound project to build two EPR reactors in Hinkley Point C in southwest Britain, which are expected to start producing power from 2023……..http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/11/18/edf-nuclear-idINL6N0T85BN20141118
Nuclear Project Threatens Finland’s Government, WSJ, JUHANA ROSSI Sept. 18, 2014 HELSINKI—Finland’s ruling coalition looks closer to breaking up after the head of the Green League said he would ask his party to leave the government over a controversial Russian-backed nuclear-power project.
An exit by the Green League won’t trigger an immediate government collapse or snap elections, but will make it tougher for the four remaining coalition partners to pass confidence votes and have draft laws approved in Parliament. The Green League will make its formal decision this weekend.
If the party members back their leader Ville Niinisto’s proposal, as is widely expected, it will leave Prime Minister Alexander Stubb’s alliance with only 101 votes, the thinnest possible majority in Finland’s 200-seat Parliament……..
the project has been struggling to attract funding as concerns over nuclear power’s operating economics and safety have grown within the European Union……
Rosatom’s central role has sparked controversy in light of the geopolitical tensions caused by the Ukraine crisis and the economic sanctions the European Union has imposed on Russia for its role in the crisis.
Finnish Greens Warn Over Russian Nuclear Project Junior Party Opposes Reactor to Be Built by Finnish-Russian Consortium WSJ By JUHANA ROSSI Write to Juhana Rossi at firstname.lastname@example.org Sept. 15, 2014
HELSINKI—Finland’s Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said he is confident his government will remain in office despite a junior party’s threat to quit the government over a proposal to allow a Finnish-Russian consortium to proceed with its controversial nuclear power-plant project in Finland.
Finland’s Minister of the Environment Ville Niinisto said Monday he will take the Greens of Finland out of government if it issues on Thursday a preliminary permit for Fennovoima Oy to build a nuclear reactor on a greenfield site on the west coast of Finland. The Greens party is a junior partner in Finland’s five-party coalition government…..
Mr. Niinisto said that the Greens cannot abide by a potential government decision. In case the decision goes against the Greens’ wishes, Mr. Niinisto said he would submit a request at a party meeting this weekend for the Greens to withdraw from the government. If the Greens choose to exit, the government will command a razor-thin majority of 101 votes in Finland’s 200-seat parliament…….
The escalation of the Ukraine crisis this year has cast further doubt over Fennovoima. Mr. Niinisto cited Rosatom’s close links with Russian government as one of the reasons why he is firmly opposed to Fennovoima’s project…….
Deterred by risks and the potentially high costs associated with nuclear power, several of Fennovoima’s Finnish investors have backed away from the project in recent years. As a result, now only 54 percentage points of Voimaosakeyhtio SF’s 66% stake in Fennovoima have actually been subscribed to by Finnish investors, while remaining 12 percentage points don’t have an assigned investor.
Mr. Vapaavuori said that at least 60% of Fennovoima has to be owned by investors from Finland or more broadly from the EU. Otherwise Fennovoima won’t be granted a building permit, the final stage in the approval process for a new nuclear reactor. http://online.wsj.com/articles/finnish-greens-warn-over-russian-nuclear-project-1410805908
Ukraine divides MPs over Fennovoima nuclear plant ownership Yle uutiset 19 Aug 14 According to an Yle poll, two Finnish party leaders say they could back the construction of the Fennovoima nuclear plant in Pyhäjärvi if Finnish ownership were at 50-53 percent. Four leaders declined to comment and four stand against the plant on principle. The uncertainty is partly due to the Ukrainian crisis.
Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori of the National Coalition Party said that the proposed Fennovoima nuclear plant would have to be under “clear domestic ownership”.
Neither Vapaavuori nor the Ministry of Economic Affairs have announced how much of the plant should specifically be owned by Finnish interest groups.
One reason behind the uneasiness of some MPs is the escalating situation in Ukraine, and the repercussions on Finnish-Russian ties. Russia enforced EU-wide sanctions as a countermeasure to EU and US sanctions in early August……..
Ownership figures misleading
The Russian national nuclear power company Rosatom currently owns 34 percent of the Pyhäjoki plant. According to Fennovoima, the Finnish stake is at 52 percent.
However, the company fails to discount two companies – Rautaruukki and Kestra – in their calculations. Kestra announced in March that it washes its hands of the power plant issue, while Rautaruukki was acquired by the Swedish SSAB in July.
As Kestra owns 4.5 percent of Fennovoima and SSAB owns 3.3 percent, a simple equation will show that the Finnish ownership of the power plant is actually only at 44.2 percent. http://yle.fi/uutiset/ukraine_divides_mps_over_fennovoima_nuclear_plant_ownership/7420930
Greens’ Niinistö calls for gov’t to reconsider Rosatom for nuclear plant uutiset 15 Aug 14 Cooperating with the Russian nuclear contractor Rosatom would be a step backward in Finland’s attempts to reduce energy dependency on Russia, says Green League party chair and Environment Minister Ville Niinistö. The Minister said that energy production should remain in domestic hands.
He pointed out that the Czech Republic had rejected a bid by Rosatom to build a nuclear power plant and that Britain is also re-evaluating possible cooperation with Rosatom in light of the crisis in Ukraine.
Niinistö also called for a national programme to increase the use of home-grown renewable energy. http://yle.fi/uutiset/greens_niinisto_calls_for_govt_to_reconsider_rosatom_for_nuclear_plant/7414053
- 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES
- business and costs
- climate change
- indigenous issues
- marketing of nuclear
- opposition to nuclear
- politics international
- Religion and ethics
- secrets,lies and civil liberties
- weapons and war
- 2 WORLD
- MIDDLE EAST
- NORTH AMERICA
- SOUTH AMERICA
- Christina's notes
- Christina's themes
- RARE EARTHS
- resources – print
- Resources -audiovicual