Nuclear power plant in northern Finland delayed four years to 2028

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A harbour site for the proposed nuclear plant. (Sasha Silvala/Yle)
A controversial nuclear power plant to be located in Pyhäjoki in northern Ostrobothnia on Finland’s northwest coast will take four years longer than originally planned, the Fennovoima power consortium said on Friday.

As recently as June, Fennovoima said that the plant would be operational by 2014. However the Russian nuclear firm Rosatom, contractor and part-owner of the project, recently provided Fennovoima with an updated production schedule indicating that the plant will not begin producing electricity before 2028.

Initial projections indicated that construction on the reactor would have already begun. However new estimates are that building work will not begin until 2021.

The project has been delayed in the planning stages and Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority Stuk has been waiting for years for the documentation required to complete a safety audit of the plans. Once the project has cleared the audit, the government will be able to grant a construction permit for the plant.

“Finnish safety regulations are the strictest in the world and because of that the design has taken longer than expected,” said Fennovoima chief executive Toni Hemminki.

Although construction work on the reactor itself has been long-delayed, contractors have forged ahead with infrastructure work on the site.

The nuclear project has been dogged by controversy and delays, with investors pulling out along the way and environmentalists protesting the construction plans. It has also come under intense scrutiny over its investor structure, as government required the project to have at least 60 percent domestic or EU ownership before it could move forward.

Related links from around the North:

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

China: China opens bids for its first nuclear-powered icebreaker, The Independent Barents Observer

Finland: Nuclear plant construction in North Finland goes ahead despite lack of permit, Yle News

Norway: Rising nuclear activity in Arctic Europe prompts Norway to update disaster plans, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: «Finland’s Pyhäjoki nuclear plant takes our pension money», The Independent Barents Observer

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