Planned nuclear plant to get risk assessment due to Russian connections

The RAOS Project, which is part of Rosatom Group, is responsible for the design, construction and installation of the plant after Germany’s E.ON and Britain’s Rolls-Royce withdrew from the project. [EPA/ KIMMO BRANDT]

Finland’s defence ministry demands a risk assessment of a nuclear power plant planned by the power consortium headed by Fennovoima. Causing concern is that Rosatom, a Russian state nuclear company, owns 34% of the firm.

The RAOS Project, which is part of Rosatom Group, is responsible for the design, construction and installation of the plant after Germany’s E.ON and Britain’s Rolls-Royce withdrew from the project.

The Defence Ministry’s statement says that the Hanhikivi project may carry geopolitical and economic risks. There are also questions about the future origin and supply of the plant’s fuel.

Around a third of the electricity produced in Finland comes from nuclear energy. There are four nuclear reactors, and the fifth one is being completed. If built, the Hanhikivi plant in the northwest should produce around 10% of the electricity needed in the future.

The owner and operator of the project, Fennovoima, submitted its construction licence application in 2015. The project has caused controversy from the start. Some investors have left, and environmental groups have been up in arms.

The company is also yet to convince Finnish authorities that safety regulations have been met. The company hopes to receive a building licence next year, start construction in 2023 and complete it by 2029.

The estimated total cost of Hanhikivi is €7–7.5 billion, the company says. The price tag has increased by about €500 million, and the project needs to raise €2 billion more. Interviewed by Talouselämä on 30 September, Kirill Komarov, Rosatom’s Deputy Director, insisted that licensing and funding issues would be solved.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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