Nuclear plant construction in North Finland goes ahead despite lack of permit

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Construction site of the Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant (Courtesy Fennovoima)
Fennovoima expects to spend some 500 million euros on building its planned nuclear power plant in northern Finland even before the building permit has been granted, according to the company.

Fennovoima, which is in charge of building the 1200 megawatt plant in Pyhäjoki, said it expects the Finnish government to issue the permit in 2019. However, the company wants to complete as much of the infrastructure work as possible before then.

“I have not thought what will happen if the permit is not granted,” said Fennovoima’s construction director Jouni Sipiläinen.

“We will get it,” he said.

At the moment, 200 people work at the site daily, doing excavation work and building temporary offices and accommodation units. The building work is expected to accelerate next year as the construction of office space begins.

Six-year delay in licence
The construction of the Hanhikivi 1 plant has been delayed, in part, because the documentation required by Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) for the license has been incomplete. (Courtesy Fennovoima)

The building permit itself will be granted by the Finnish government, but it cannot proceed without STUK’s safety assessment.

“We are mostly interested in the bedrock in the area and whether it is suitable for the foundation of the plant,” Tapani Virolainen from STUK said.

The construction of the Hanhikivi 1 plant has been delayed, in part, because the documentation required by Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) for the license has been incomplete.

An illustration of the Hanhikivi 1 plant once it will be completed.
(Courtesy Fennovoima)

The plant will be supplied by Russia’s state-owned Rosatom, which holds a 34 percent stake in Fennovoima. Titan-2, also of Russia, is the main contractor for the Hanhikivi plant.

The remainder of Fennovoima is owned by Voimaosakeyhtiö SF, a grouping of industrial companies, such as Fortum and Outokumpu, as well as local energy utilities.

The plant is expected to be operational in 2024 and to supply approximately 10 percent of Finland’s electricity demand.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Test clean energy solutions in south before implementing them in Arctic communities: report, Radio Canada International

Finland: Finland playing catch-up with Nordics in wind turbines, Yle News

Norway: Eni must stop operations on Barents Sea “Goliat” platform, say environmentalists, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia lacks space for Arctic nuclear fleet – will it get worse?, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Volvo to go all electric starting in 2019, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. transportation secretary announces efforts to speed up project development in Alaska, Alaska Dispatch News

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