Parliament approves construction of two new nuclear power plant units
On 1st July 2010, the Finnish Parliament voted on the two decisions-in-principle approved by the Government in May for the construction of additional nuclear power plants. Parliament voted 120–72 in favour of the decision-in-principle approving the construction of a new power plant unit, Olkiluoto 4, by Teollisuuden Voima Oyj. The favourable decision-in-principle regarding Fennovoima Oy's application to construct a new nuclear power plant in Simo or Pyhäjoki was also approved, by 121–71 votes.
The companies leading this project, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj and Fennovoima Oy, can therefore continue their preparations for the construction of the new nuclear power plant units.
Both decisions-in-principle will remain in force for five years from 1st July 2010. The decisions will lapse if, within this period, the company in question does not submit an application for a construction licence, in accordance with the Nuclear Energy Act. Prior to submitting such an application, Fennovoima must also choose between the two site alternatives it presented. The municipalities of both Simo and Pyhäjoki have notified their willingness to be the location of the new plant.
Upon submitting its construction application, Fennovoima must also provide a report on its plans, elaborated in greater detail, for nuclear waste management. Furthermore, the company must develop its plan for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel. Within six years, Fennovoima is obliged to present the Ministry of Employment and the Economy with either an agreement on a nuclear waste disposal partnership with TVO and Fortum, or, under the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, its own environmental assessment programme on the final disposal repository for nuclear waste.
Construction licences and the operating licences submitted in due course will be considered by the Government. Such consideration will include the broad-based comment and hearing procedure required under law. Depending on the time of submission of the construction licence applications, it is expected that the Government will be in a position to consider them by 2014 at the earliest. Should the Government approve these applications, operating licence applications as required under the Nuclear Energy Act will follow, at the end of the estimated four-year construction phase. At the earliest, the new plants will be ready for commissioning at the turn of the decade.
Additional construction of nuclear power forms one aspect of the energy policy definitions in line with the Government’s climate and energy strategy. Other policies resulting in a low-emission, energy self-sufficient and competitive Finland include increasing the use of renewable energy, and enhancing energy conservation and energy efficiency.
Today, by 159–35 votes, Parliament also approved a separate decision-in-principle in favour of Posiva’s plan for constructing an extended final disposal repository for spent nuclear fuel in Eurajoki. This extension will ensure the management of spent nuclear fuel arising from TVO’s Olkiluoto 4 project.
For further information, please contact:
Riku Huttunen, Deputy Director General, MEE, tel. +358 10 606 3636
Jorma Aurela, Senior Engineer, MEE, tel. +358 50 592 2109