The Finnish Parliament has today on 5 December voted 115 to 74 in favour of Fennovoima’s supplement to the Decision-in-Principle regarding the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki, Finland. In a press release, the Finnish Parliament states: “The Finnish Government, the Commerce Committee of the Parliament and now the plenary session felt that in accordance with the Nuclear Energy Act, Fennovoima’s project remains in the overall good of society.”
A new decision-in-principle had become necessary after Fennovoima changed the option for a reactor to that of a Rosatom 1,200 megawatt AES-2006 Pressurized Water Reactor, which was not among the options that had been examined in an earlier application submitted in 2009.
Fennovoima must now submit a construction licence application to the government by the end of June 2015.The company has every intention of doing so. “The plant design work and construction licence application are being prepared together with the plant supplier, Rosatom Overseas”, said Fennovoima in a press release.
“I want to thank Parliament for the trust they have shown in this important project”, Toni Hemminki, CEO of Fennovoima stated. “The Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant will generate emission-free electricity for Fennovoima’s owners at a predictable and reasonable price for decades to come.This large-scale investment will create jobs and give a much-needed boost to the economy”,
Work has already started with the construction of a new access road at Pyhäjoki, on the west coast of Finland at the Gulf of Bothnia where the plant will be built. Fennovoima notes that “during 2015–2017, extensive infrastructure work will include excavation and earthworks, as well as the construction of auxiliary buildings. The first concrete is scheduled for 2018. Rosatom Overseas is in final negotiations with main suppliers and contracts are due to be signed by the end of the current year. Next-phase negotiations will begin in early 2015.”
Hanhikivi 1 will be the first nuclear plant to be built by a Russian company in the EU in the post-Soviet era. The contract with Rosatom was signed in December 2013. Since then EU-relations with Russia have only deteriorated. The Finnish government earlier this year said it wants the nuclear plant to be majority Finnish-owned, which Fennovoima’s owners, the cooperative Voimaosakeyhtiö SF, have said will present no difficulty. Rosatom will hold 34% of the new plant through its Finnish subsidiary RAOS Voima Oy.
Pekka Ottavainen, then-Chairman of Voimaosakeyhtiö, said in an interview with Energy Post in December last year that the new plant will deliver electricity at “no more than €50 per MWh”. This is less than half the 35-year, inflation-indexed “strike price” of £92.50 (€110) per MWh which the UK government has guaranteed to pay to EDF for building two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C.