Finnish poll suggests opposition to sixth nuclear reactor

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Helsinki - A majority of Finnish voters oppose the construction of a sixth nuclear reactor, according to a survey published Thursday. Finland currently operates four nuclear reactors and construction of a fifth
reactor is underway at Olkiluoto, south-western Finland, where two reactors are operating.

The survey suggested 53 per cent opposed building a sixth reactor while 34 per cent had no objections to additional reactors.

Public broadcaster YLE commissioned pollster Taloustutkimus to survey about 1,000 people at the end of April and early May. The margin of error was listed as 2.5 percentage points.

Three industrial groups are currently investigating the possibilities of building more reactors. Locations include the two current nuclear facilities at Olkiluoto and near the town of Loviisa, some 90 kilometres
east of Helsinki, as well as at four new locations including three on the Gulf of Bothnia.

Economic Affairs Minister Mauro Mauri Pekkarinen said in a comment to YLE that people who oppose more nuclear power plants likely did not fully understand Finnish power needs.

Even if all available renewable energy sources were utilized they would "not be sufficient" to cover future needs, Pekkarinen said.

The Employment and Economy Ministry on Wednesday said four potential sites that group Fennovoima Ltd was looking at were probably acceptable, but the group has to provide additional information about possible environmental impacts on agriculture and fish farms.

The environment impact assessment (EIA) was due to be completed at the end of the year.

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