Finland signals Russian-backed nuclear project faces halt
Bloomberg February 24, 2022
Finland’s Economy Minister Mika Lintila signaled that the Russian-backed nuclear project Fennovoima would not be granted a construction permit in the Nordic country.
“As the presenting minister, a permissioning authority of sorts, I do not see a scenario in which I could present that to the government,” Lintila said in parliament on Thursday following Russia’s attack on Ukraine. About a third of the greenfield Hanhikivi-1 atomic reactor project belongs to Rosatom Corp., the Russian government-owned plant supplier, and a construction permit was expected this year.
The project underscores the Finnish government’s predicament as it seeks to prevent Russia from operating its critical infrastructure without angering the eastern neighbor with which it shares a 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) border. Finland also imports power and gets much of its oil and gas from Russia.
Fennovoima had initially been given a green light by the parliament in 2010, when it was led by EON. The German utility withdrew from the project in 2012, and in 2013, Rosatom stepped in. Other owners include a plethora of Finnish energy and industrial companies.
In a further complication, the 1,200-megawatt plant’s pressure chamber looks to fall under the scope of sanctions against Russia, as it’s set to be manufactured in the Ukraine separatist region of Donetsk, Lintila said.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin had earlier indicated that the project’s security implications would face a review. Still, any decision to shut down the project would be against the law, Lintila told lawmakers.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the counter measures by European Union and western countries as a consequence, pose a major risk for the project,” Fennovoima said on its website on Thursday.