The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Finland’s nuclear regulator demands safety check for Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor’s pressure vessel

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.

pressure vessel olkiluoto

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…….

April 20, 2015 Posted by | Finland, safety, technology | Leave a comment

Finland’s coming election: majority of candidates oppose further nuclear reactors

ballot-boxSmflag-FinlandMajority 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……

March 16, 2015 Posted by | Finland, politics | Leave a comment

Need to research effects of electromagnetic radiation from cellphones to children

flag-FinlandRadiation 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……….

December 10, 2014 Posted by | children, Finland | Leave a comment

Disturbing information about Rosatom’s nuclear reactors – a warning to Finland

Russian-Bearflag-FinlandWriter 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……..

December 6, 2014 Posted by | Finland, India, safety | Leave a comment

Finland’s parliament greenlights Fennovoima nuclear plant despite opposition

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.

December 1, 2014 Posted by | Finland, politics | Leave a comment

EDF’s nuclear power plants Flamanville and Olkiluoto delayed yet again

reactor-Olkiluoto_14EDF says French nuclear reactor delayed another year to 2017 , 

* 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……..

November 19, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Finland, France | Leave a comment

Finland’s government at risk, over Russian-backed nuclear-power project.

flag-Finland 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.

logo-Finland-GreensAn 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.

Write to Juhana Rossi at

September 20, 2014 Posted by | Finland, politics | Leave a comment

Political risk for Finland’s government in Russian nuclear build deal

flag-FinlandFinnish 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 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.

logo-Finland-GreensFinland’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.

September 17, 2014 Posted by | Finland, politics | Leave a comment

Finland’s government in angst over nuclear power plant and Ukraine crisis

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.

August 20, 2014 Posted by | Finland, politics | Leave a comment

Finland’s Environment Minister call sto end nuclear deal with Russia, and increase renewable energy

logo-Finland-GreensGreens’ 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.

Russian-BearGreen Environment Minister Ville Niinistö said he believes that giving the Russian nuclear plant builder Rosatom a permit to construct a new nuclear power facility in Finland would be strange, given that the rest of the European Union is working to reduce dependency on Russian energy. Rosatom is a Russian state-owned nuclear power construction company…….

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.

August 16, 2014 Posted by | Finland, politics international | Leave a comment

The whopping great financial mess that is Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear power plant

flag-FinlandFrench auditors slam Areva for Olkiluoto nuclear project in Finland 16 July 14, The French nuclear contractor Areva is at the centre of a storm of criticism by French government auditors over its operations. Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK says it still hasn’t received all of the new paperwork relating to nuclear safety for the long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant currently at a standstill in western Finland. And the company remains locked in a cycle of recrimination with the plant’s owner. A 122-page report by French government auditors has not yet been officially published but the financial paper Les Échos has quoted liberally from the account, which details major fiascos, billion-euro losses and the dissemination of misleading information by the French nuclear power plant contractor Areva.

The progress of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor in Eurajoki western Finland forms a central part of the narrative. Areva was selected in 2003 — as part of the Franco-German joint venture Areva-Siemens — to deliver the Finnish nuclear reactor.

“Areva was ready to do anything to win the Olkiluoto deal, including downplaying project management deficiencies. They had also previously delivered and commissioned nuclear reactors but they had never undertaken an entire project end-to-end, since the main French contractor had always been the EDF Group (Électricité de France), explained Les Échos editor in chief Pascal Pogam in an interview with Yle’s A-Studio current affairs program.

Based on accounts by parties such as the Olkiluoto owner-operator, the Finnish power consortium Teollisuuden Voima or TVO, Areva is said to have lied about the possibility of constructing a nuclear reactor within the agreed schedule.


“During the time of the Olkiluoto agreement Areva and Siemens (Areva’s former German joint venture nuclear partner) assured TVO that they had the required expertise to see the enterprise through to the end. On hindsight, TVO has speculated that Siemens and Areva minimised their difficulties and covered up their shortcomings to get the deal,” Pogam continued.

Bottomless pit of financial losses However the Olkiluoto reactor turned out to be a bottomless pit of financial losses for Areva, with the project languishing seven years behind schedule and racking up nearly 3.5 billion euros in deficits for the French contractor.

French government auditors took Areva to task for its inability to accurately estimate the cost and timetable required to complete the project.“It’s difficult to blame Areva alone, which is now locked in a futile dialogue with TVO and STUK. The parties can no longer communicate. The future of the project remains wide open because there seems to be no solution to the dispute. Currently Areva and TVO are only communicating via their lawyers. That’s not helping and no one can say when the project will be completed or at what cost,” Pogam remarked.

“According to the report the uncertain situation could get out of hand and the final bill could be massive. However I wouldn’t blame Areva entirely, it’s more a question of each side holding the other to ransom in a situation where each is equally to blame,” Pogam added.

Escalating arbitration battle

For the last couple of years Areva and TVO have been engaged in a pitched arbitration battle before the International Chamber of Commerce, with each side ratcheting up compensation claims over construction delays and unpaid fees.

In late October last year, Areva slapped an additional 700 million euros to bring its claim to 2.6 billion euros for the voided nuclear reactor deal. In its turn, TVO has claimed 1.8 billion euros in compensation for construction delays.

Meanwhile according to the most optimistic estimates the reactor is expected to be ready for firing up at the beginning of next year – many years behind the original completion schedule of 2009. However TVO has said Olkiluoto 3 won’t be operational until one year later in 2016 – and it’s anybody’s guess what the final price tag will be.

July 16, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

Finland’s Green Party in government firmly against new nuclear power

logo-Finland-GreensGreens meet to strategise, remain cold on new nuclear power, UUTISET, 6 June 1Delegates from Finland’s Green League are gathered at an annual party congress in Jämsä, central Finland to hammer out a campaign platform ahead of parliamentary elections due next year. Green party chair Ville Niinistö said although the party wants to stay in governmen it’s holding its ground on its opposition to new nuclear power in Finland.

flag-FinlandOne thing became clear from the start of this year’s three-day Green League party congress: the Greens want to stay in government. Green party chair and Environment Minister Ville Niinistö pointed to the party’s recent achievement in orchestrating government agreement on a proposal for climate change legislation.

However, the party is not prepared to give way on its opposition to new nuclear power facilities in Finland. It intends to hold fast to the current government programme, which stipulates that no new decisions-in-principle on nuclear energy should go before the parliament…….

The party has hinted that it is prepared to leave the government if a revised permit for the proposed Fennovoima nuclear power plant returns to parliament for consideration.

Niinistö added that nuclear power contractors are now experiencing great difficulties.

Nuclear power “not rational” for Finland

“The question is, at what stage will the parties admit their mistake, which is that holding on to nuclear power no matter what at the taxpayers’ expense isn’t rational for the Finnish economy, for our jobs, our business community, or for us to develop domestic forms of renewable energy,” Niinistö

June 7, 2014 Posted by | Finland, politics | 1 Comment

Finland’s safety warning on new nuclear, as Olkiluoto boondoggle drags on

flag-FinlandSafety watchdog issues warning on Fennovoima nuclear projec  23 May 14Finland’s nuclear safety watchdog, STUK, says that the Fennovoima consortium does not yet have the know-how needed for the design of a safe nuclear power plant. The company responded saying that the comments had been expected. The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) on Friday submitted its preliminary safety evaluation of the proposed Fennovoima power plant to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.

STUK says that Fennovoima, which wants to build its first facility at Hanhikivi near the west-coast town of Rauma, must beef up its organisation and leadership system, as well as the security plans for the proposed plant. STUK says there must be design changes to meet Finnish safety standards to cope with potential dangers at the plant site such as an airplane crash, flooding, fire or a serious accident.

STUK Director General Petteri Tiippana says the consortium must concentrate on strengthening these areas in order to be ready for the construction permit phase. He added that the company must present STUK with comprehensive documentation on the proposed facility’s safety that is complete enough to be decided on in one step.

Avoiding Olkiluoto’s setbacks


Tiippana says the tougher demands are aimed at preventing the kinds of problems faced by the still-incomplete Olkiluoto 3. That project, by the experienced nuclear utility TVO, is far behind schedule and over budget………..

May 24, 2014 Posted by | Finland, safety | Leave a comment

Farce of Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant – an expensive white elephant

flag-FinlandFinland Government faces two in-principle decisions on nuclear power  22 May 14, The Government faces two new in-principle decisions on nuclear power projects, after Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) announced on Tuesday that it will request an extension to the in-principle decision granted for the construction of a fourth reactor at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant and a new time limit for filing the building permit application.

“[Work on] Olkiluoto 3 has been delayed to the extent that we can’t make any big decisions on Olkiluoto 4. All the conditions and grounds for Olkiluoto 4 remain in tact. It’s only a question of timing,” explains Jorma Tanhua, the CEO at TVO.

Under the current in-principle decision, TVO must apply for a building permit for Olkiluoto 4 by the end of June 2015.

TVO has asked for the time limit to be extended by five years. In addition, the Government must take a new in-principle decision on the nuclear power project of Fennovoima in Pyhäjoki due to the withdrawal of Germany’s E.ON from the project.

If the in-principle decisions are granted, the Parliament can either rescind or approve the decisions as such.

The Minister of Economic Affairs, Jan Vapaavuori (NCP), says that it is now necessary to consider whether such a notable extension can be granted to TVO. “It’s obvious that if more time is granted, it can’t be as much as five years,” he views.


Vapaavuori on Tuesday also underlined that the Government must consider the applications of both TVO and Fennovoima sooner rather than later in order to be able to present them to the Parliament in the autumn.

“We may even have to consolidate the schedules of the projects. If both are approved by the Government, they’ll be presented to the Parliament in the same context,” he said.

Ville Niinistö, the Minister of the Environment, believes the in-principle decisions on nuclear power have become a farce. Nuclear power, he argues, is no longer pertinent or economically cost-effective.

Olli Pohjanpalo, Petri Sajari – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT

May 23, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

Russian nuclear power plant is a worry to Finland

flag-FinlandFinns have concerns over Russian nuclear power plant Helsinki Times, 6 April 14, The current Crimean crisis in Ukraine has resulted in Finns having second thoughts about the construction of a nuclear power plant with Russian technology.

Almost half of Finns are opposed to granting a nuclear power plant permit to Fennovoima, which is planning to order the reactor unit from the Russian energy giant Rosatom.

Growing concerns felt by Finns on the issue came out in a TNS Gallup survey commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat.

Only a third of the respondents said that Fennovoima’s application for permission to build a new nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki should be accepted.

The respondents were told that Fennovoima has submitted a supplementary application as in the original application Rosatom was not given as the supplier of the reactor.

The survey revealed that Rosatom’s involvement is the factor that sparks negative reactions to the project among Finns……….

April 7, 2014 Posted by | Finland, politics international | Leave a comment


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