TVO Files New Nuclear Reactor Application

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The power utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) on Friday filed an application for a decision-in-principle concerning the construction of a new nuclear power plant unit at Olkiluoto on Finland's west coast.

TVO says that the new unit will significantly help to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions in electricity production and the decrease dependence on electricity import, as well as increase the reasonably-priced base power production in Finland.

If approved, construction of the new unit could start in 2010 with an estimated price tag of 3-4 billion euros.

At present TVO operates two reactor units at the site and a third is under construction. The electric output of Olkiluoto 4, depending on the plant type, is expected to be 1,000-1,800 MW.

Greenpeace Cites Problems

The environmental group Greenpeace Friday issued a demand for the TVO application to be turned down.

It pointed out that the reactor that is now being built already in Olkiluoto has exceeded its budget by 1.5 billion euros and the construction is running two years late. It says that the cut of greenhouse gas emissions is around one third of what was promised.

Greenpeace argues that an additional nuclear reactor would be an irresponsible gamble and that Finnish energy demand can be met by increasing renewable sources.

Two More Applications Pending

Officials expect two more applications for new nuclear reactors sometime this year. The final decision will rest with Parliament.

An environmental impact study has not yet been completed.

"My original hope was that all new applications would have been filed only after environmental impact studies had been completed. However, TVO wanted to put in its application at this stage. It has a legal right to do so. We will begin processing the application at the Ministry this spring," Mauri Pekkarinen, Minister of Economic Affairs, stated in a press release.

Environmental impact studies are also underway for two other possible nuclear power production unit applications. Fortum expects to complete one late this coming summer and the Fennovoima company this autumn or in early 2009. Fortum wants to build a new unit at its Loviisa nuclear plant on the south-east coast. Fennovoima is looking at sites in Kristiinankaupunki, Pyhäjoki, Ruotsinpyhtä and Simo.

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