Members of a Swedish civic organisation collected and delivered more than 20,000 signatures from individuals protesting the proposed construction of a nuclear power plant in northwest Finland by the power consortium Fennovoima.
The delegation from the Swedish NGO Nuclear-free Gulf of Bothnia (Kärnkraftsfritt Bottenviken) visited the Finnish parliament Tuesday morning to hand over the petition on behalf of more than 170,000 residents of seven municipalities that lie close to the proposed construction site of the Pyhäjoki nuclear power plant. The site in northwest Finland lies just 155 kilometres from the Swedish coast.
“Because of the natural environment Hanhikivi is an extremely poor choice to locate a nuclear power plant,” activist Kristina Berg told lawmakers in Helsinki.
Earlier this year, demonstrators gathered in the centre of the Swedish coastal city of Luleå ahead of a public hearing on the proposed plant in Pyhäjoki, near Raahe.
Environmental impact on Sweden?
The protesters have long been worried about the potential environmental impact of the nuclear facility on the Swedish side of the Gulf of Bothnia. Many have demanded a fundamental re-think of the project and have also called for a system of sustainable energy that is not based on continuous growth.
Residents of the Swedish communities have also pointed to the strong role of the Russian state-owned nuclear contractor Rosatom in the proposed project, even charging that Finland is outsourcing its energy needs to Russia.
The petition was delivered as Finland’s largest power producer Fortum announced plans to buy a stake in the Fennovoima nuclear power plant, taking it one step closer to reality.
The cabinet had previously dictated that the plant should be at least 60 percent domestic or European-owned as a prerequisite for a final go-ahead. Fortum’s investment would take Finnish ownership to 66 percent, helping the project meet the government’s criterion.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Oil and gas consultations in Canada’s eastern Arctic next week, CBC News
Finland: Parliamentary committee greenlights Fennovoima nuclear plant in Finland, Yle News
Greenland: Statoil awarded exploration licence off Greenland, Eye on the Arctic
Norway: Oil, Industry and Arctic Sustainability, Deutsche Welle’s Ice-Blog
Russia: Russia to use pensions funds for Rosatom-funded nuclear plant in Finland, Yle News
United States: Gasline partners take steps toward permitting, marketing of project in Alaska, Alaska Public Radio Network