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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

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 juhana.rossi@wsj.com   http://online.wsj.com/articles/nuclear-project-threatens-finlands-government-1411046734

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 juhana.rossi@wsj.com 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. http://online.wsj.com/articles/finnish-greens-warn-over-russian-nuclear-project-1410805908

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. http://yle.fi/uutiset/ukraine_divides_mps_over_fennovoima_nuclear_plant_ownership/7420930

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. http://yle.fi/uutiset/greens_niinisto_calls_for_govt_to_reconsider_rosatom_for_nuclear_plant/7414053

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 http://yle.fi/uutiset/french_auditors_slam_areva_for_olkiluoto_nuclear_project_in_finland/7358244?origin=rss 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.

reactor-Olkiluoto_14

“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, http://yle.fi/uutiset/greens_meet_to_strategise_remain_cold_on_new_nuclear_power/7284419 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 projechttp://yle.fi/uutiset  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

reactor-Olkiluoto_14

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………..http://yle.fi/uutiset/safety_watchdog_issues_warning_on_fennovoima_nuclear_project/7259738

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 http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/10691-government-faces-two-in-principle-decisions-on-nuclear-power.html  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.

OLKILUOTO---FINLAND

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
© HELSINGIN SANOMAT

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……….http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/10080-finns-have-concerns-over-russian-nuclear-power-plant.html

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

Finland nuclear power consortium sees exodus of 15 members

thumbs-downflag-FinlandMore partners pull out of Fennovoima nuclear project  UUTISET, 14  Nov 13, The consortium of Finnish power companies backing a planned nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki, western Finland is shrinking. Some 15 members of the Fennovoima public power consortium announced Thursday that they were pulling out of the project, leaving 45 partners still on board. Thursday’s development saw 15 members of the Voimaosakeyhtiö SF announce their withdrawal from the planned nuclear power project in Ostrobothnia, western Finland. Voimaosakeyhtiö is a power consortium comprising 67 companies who jointly own Fennovoima.

Among the companies that decided to withdraw support from the nuclear power plant are Boliden Harjavalta, Boliden Kokkola and Componenta.

Back in 2012, Finnish retail cooperative S-Group and the German-based power giant  E.ON announced that they were leaving the project behind. E.ON sold its 34 percent stake in the consortium, saying that the move was part of a strategy to sell off all of its Finnish operations.

S-Group said it shed its three-percent shareholding to focus on investments that would benefit its shareholders.

Fennovoima still in talks with Rosatom

About 45 companies remain as partners to the project. However their support is still conditional, given that Fennovoima is still in talks with Russian nuclear contractor and proposed minority owner, Rosatom.

The remaining consortium members include mining company Talvivaara, steel company Outokumpu, dairy company Valio and a group of regional energy companies…….http://yle.fi/uutiset/more_partners_pull_out_of_fennovoima_nuclear_project/6934299

November 15, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

Costs of Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear reactor go up yet again

costs have steadily climbed, calling into question the profitability of the undertaking.

Areva Again Raises Estimate of Cost of OLKILUOTO---FINLAND Reactor NASDAQ, By Dow Jones Business News,  December,13 2012, By Inti Landauro PARIS--French nuclear engineering firm Areva (AREVA.FR) raised its estimate Thursday of the cost of building the new generation reactor under construction since 2005 in Finland.

Chief Executive Luc Oursel said the reactor in Olkiluoto will ultimately cost about 8 billion euros, same as a similar reactor it is building in Flamanville, in northern France. That’s well over the last cost estimate of around EUR6.4 billion. Continue reading

December 14, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

Cancellation of Finland’s nuclear project likely, as Europe retreats from nuclear power

“It is entirely possible that Finland’s Fennovoima project will fail as a result of EON’s exit,”

 “A cancellation of the project seems very likely.”

Utilities are pulling out of nuclear projects across Europe  as financial constraints and uncertainty over energy prices increases risk.

EON Exit From Finnish Nuclear Reactor May Trigger Failure Bloomberg, By Torsten Fagerholm – Nov 1,   EON AG (EOAN)’s plan to pull out of a joint venture that’s building a nuclear reactor in Finland increases the risk that the project may fail, thwarting the government’s plans  to cut reliance on energy imports. Continue reading

November 2, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

Another utility company pulls out of uneconomic nuclear power project

Utilities are pulling out of nuclear projects across Europe  as uncertainty over energy prices makes them too risky. EON’s withdrawal from Finland follows its decision in September 2011, along with SSE Plc and RWE AG (RWE), to give up building nuclear plants in the
U.K

EON Withdraws From Finnish Nuclear Project on Price Slide, Bloomberg By Torsten Fagerholm – Oct 24, 2012   EON AG, Germany’s biggest utility, plans to withdraw from the Fennovoima Oy nuclear reactor in Finland  after European energy prices declined, threatening the viability of the project. Continue reading

October 25, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

Further delays for Finland’s and France’s new nuclear power plants

Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant delayed again, BBC News 16 July 12 Olkiluoto 3 has been hit by repeated delays and is over budget The launch of a flagship nuclear power station in Finland has been delayed for a third time, officials say.



Finnish electricity company TVO says the Olkiluoto 3 plant will not be ready by the latest deadline of 2014 and a new timetable has not yet been set.
The plant will be powered by a new generation of nuclear technology called the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR)….. Olkiluoto 3, originally due to be ready by 2009, is being built by French nuclear company Areva and German engineering giant Siemens.

In a statement, TVO said it was “not pleased with the situation” although solutions to various problems were being found one by one and work was “progressing”.

It said it was waiting for a new launch date from Areva and Siemens.

Work on the site in south-west Finland began in 2005 but has been hit by repeated delays and has run way over budget….. a similar project in Flamanville in northern France is itself running four years behind schedule…. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18862422

July 25, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

The continuing gloomy story of Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear reactor

Nuclear dawn delayed in Finland BBC News, By Rob Broomby  8 July 2009  The turbine is the world’s largest and will generate about 2m horse power When it is finished, Finland’s 3 (OL3) nuclear reactor will be the biggest the world has ever seen, the excavation site alone is the size of 55 football fields.
It was to have been a pilot project for bigger, better, cleaner, Generation III reactors, which would lead the charge back to nuclear power in a continent which had gone cold on atomic energy after the accidents at Chernobyl and Thee Mile Island.
But hopes of an early nuclear dawn on the Baltic coast are fading –  Continue reading

July 25, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

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