Nuclear power in Finland
As of 2008, Finland's nuclear power program has four nuclear reactors in two power plants, all located on the shores of the Baltic Sea. The first of these came into operation in 1977. In 2007 they provided 28.4% of Finland's electricity. They are among the world's most productive, with average capacity factors of 94% in the 1990s. A fifth reactor is under construction, scheduled to go online in 2015 or later. If all planned projects are completed, the share of electricity produced by nuclear could double by 2025, reaching around 60%.
Operational power plants
|This section is outdated. (September 2015)|
Located in Loviisa, on the south coast (Gulf of Finland), the plant comprises two VVER-440 pressurized water reactors built by Soviet Atomenergoexport, but fitted with Western instrumentation, containment structures and control systems. The plant is owned and operated by Fortum. Electrical production started in 1977 and 1980, with the reactors now producing 496 MWe each. On 26 July 2007 new licenses were granted to Fortum to operate the units until 2027 and 2030, conditional on safety reviews before 2015 and 2023.
The Olkiluoto plant is owned by Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), and is located in Eurajoki, on the west coast, near Rauma. It has two boiling water reactors currently producing a total of 1,720 MWe. They were built by the Swedish company Asea-Atom (nowadays ABB Group), and went online in 1978 and 1980.
Areva is building a third reactor at the Olkiluoto site for a fixed price of €3 billion ($4.1 billion). It will be the first European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), and will have a power output of 1,600 MWe. An 800 MW undersea transmission line from near Olkiluoto to Sweden is scheduled to be completed in 2011, allowing the import and export of additional power. The reactor was originally scheduled to start production in 2009, then was scheduled to do so no earlier than 2015, and is currently planned for 2018, nine years behind schedule. Total costs now exceed 8.5 billion euro and plans for a possible fourth plant has been discarded.
Otaniemi research reactor
There is a small research reactor located in Otaniemi, Espoo; a TRIGA Mark II, built for the Helsinki University of Technology in 1962. Owned by the Technical Research Centre of Finland since 1972, it has a power output of 250 kW (peak power 1,000 kW) and is mainly used in boron neutron capture therapy treatment and research. Although the operating license is valid through 2023, VTT announced on July 12, 2012 that they plan to deactivate the reactor as soon as technically and legally possible because it is no longer economical and because medical nuclear technology is not one of VTT's core businesses. The current plan foresees a shutdown in 2016 and two or three years of dismantling the unit. 
Regulation and safety
Under the Nuclear Energy Act 1987 the Ministry of Trade and Industry (Finnish: Kauppa- ja teollisuusministeriö, KTM) is responsible for supervision of nuclear power operation and for waste disposal. It is assisted by an Advisory Committee on Nuclear Energy in major matters and also an Advisory Committee on Radiation Protection.
Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Finnish: Säteilyturvakeskus, STUK) is responsible for regulation and inspection. It operates under the Council of State (effectively the government), which licenses major nuclear facilities. STUK is under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and is assisted by an Advisory Committee on Nuclear Safety in major matters.
New reactor construction
A cabinet decision in 2002 to allow the construction of a fifth nuclear reactor was accepted in parliament. The Green League, which was principally opposed to the expansion of nuclear power and which held the position of the Minister of Environment, left the coalition government on 31 May 2002 in protest of the cabinet's decision, narrowing the majority of the coalition in the parliament. Economic, energy security and environmental grounds were given as reasons to build the fifth reactor. While hydroelectricity is curtailed in dry years (range 9,455–14,865 GWh 1990–2006 ), nuclear energy supplies near-constant amounts of energy, and studies showed that nuclear energy was the cheapest option for Finland. The vote was seen as very significant for nuclear energy policy in that it was the first decision to build a new nuclear power plant in western Europe for more than a decade.
Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) ordered the 1600 MW nuclear reactor (Olkiluoto 3) in 2003. The suppliers were the French company Areva NP (formerly Framatome) and the German company Siemens, which owned 34% of Areva NP. The price was fixed at €3 billion and completion was scheduled for 2009. The construction of this plant went now substantially behind schedule and over cost. As of 2010, Areva expected to lose €2.3 billion ($3.2 billion) on the project. In June 2010, start-up was scheduled to begin in early 2013 and would take several months.
According to World Nuclear Association 2008: ”Experience has shown that each year of additional delay in the construction of a nuclear power plants adds another estimated $1 billion to the cost”.
Siemens sold its share of Areva NP to Areva in January 2009 for €2.1 billion. In June 2010, the European Union began an investigation of Areva and Siemens for anti-trust violations in nuclear cooperation.
On 21 April 2010, the Government of Finland decided to grant permits for construction of the sixth and seventh commercial reactors to Teollisuuden Voima and Fennovoima, a joint venture between RAOS Voima Oy, a subsidiary of Rusatom, and SF energy, a consortium of Finnish industrial companies. The application by Fortum to build a new reactor at Loviisa was declined. The Finnish Parliament approved the building permits on 1 July 2010.
As in 2002, the Green League was principally opposed to nuclear power and represented in the coalition government, holding the positions of the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Labour. This time the party had publicly stated before the 2007 parliamentary elections that it would not leave a coalition it had agreed to join, even if the other parties in that coalition decided to license further reactors. The party viewed the 2002 decision to expand nuclear power with several new reactors as the principal one, and the 2010 decision as simply a question of which operators to grant the permits to. The Green League voted against all new permits in the cabinet, and lost the vote.
On 25 September 2014 after TVO's repeated delays in building the third reactor and its failure to begin work on the fourth reactor in time, the government refused TVO's application for a further extension to the permit for the fourth reactor. For not seeking building permission by June 2015 for the fourth Olkiluoto reactor, TVO's permit granted in 2010 is terminated.
Spent fuel from the Loviisa Nuclear Power Plant was initially shipped to the Soviet Union for reprocessing. After news of the 1957 Kyshtym disaster at the Mayak nuclear fuel reprocessing plant was made public, this option was no longer seen as politically acceptable. The Finnish Nuclear Energy Act was amended in 1994 so that all nuclear waste produced in Finland must be disposed of in Finland. All spent fuel will be permanently buried in bedrock.
The Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository at Olkiluoto was selected in 2000 to become the world's first deep geological repository of spent nuclear fuel. It will store the spent fuel from the plants owned by the utilities Fortum and TVO, that is, from the Loviisa and Olkiluoto sites. A documentary film about the waste repository has been made: Into Eternity.
The major parliamentary political parties in Finland consider support or opposition to nuclear power as an issue that is left to each individual MP to decide. The National Coalition, the Center Party and the Social Democrats include both supporters and opponents of nuclear power. Only the National Coalition has included a supportive stance in their party platform. The Center Party has expressed support for building more nuclear power plants and the Social Democrats have not stated a party-wide view. Most of the small parliamentary parties have expressed opposition in their party platforms. The Green League and the Left Alliance both explicitly oppose nuclear power as have the Swedish People's Party and the Finns Party. The exception is the Christian Democrat party, which has not expressed a view.
The Finnish public is among the most nuclear power-friendly nations in the EU: in a 2008 survey, the production of nuclear electricity was supported by 61%, clearly above the EU average of 44%.
- Renewable energy in Finland
- Finland → Economy of Finland
- Politics of Finland
- Nuclear power → Nuclear energy policy
- World Nuclear Industry Status Report
References and notes
- Nuclear Energy Agency Country Profiles - Finland
- "Nuclear Power in Finland". Country Briefings. World Nuclear Association. February 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- "Olkiluoto 3 delayed beyond 2014". World Nuclear News. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "Energy Policies of IEA Countries". Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- "Twenty more years for Loviisa plant". World Nuclear News. July 27, 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- "Suomen vanhin ydinreaktori ajetaan alas". Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- "Ministry of Employment and the Economy issues statement on EIA report on decommissioning of VTT research reactor". Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- "Vihreät jättävät hallituksen". Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- "Finland Hydroelectric Power Production by Year". Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- Olkiluodon rakentaminen ontuu, Helsingin Sanomat Pääkirjoitus 17.8.2008 A2
- Helsingin Sanomat 8.6.2010
- Al Gore. Our Choice, A plan to solve the climate crises, Bloomsbury 2009, page 156
- Siemens luopuu yhteisyrityksestä Arevan kanssa, Siemensin uusi ydinvoimalakumppani tulossa Venäjältä, Helsingin Sanomat 27.1.2009 B4
- Helsingin Sanomat 3.6.2010 B9
- "Finnish government says yes to TVO and Fennovoima". Nuclear Engineering International (Global Trade Media). 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- Kinnunen, Terhi (2010-07-01). "Finnish parliament agrees plans for two reactors". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
- "Finnish nuclear program gets ready". World Nuclear News. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- "Finland's parliament approves two new nuclear reactors". BBC News. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- Kinnunen, Terhi (2011-10-05). "Finland names 1st nuclear site after Fukushima". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
- "Finnland gibt Rosatom grünes Licht für Bau von AKW Hanhikivi (german)". Retrieved 2015-05-18.
- "TVO to miss Olkiluoto 4 licence application deadline". Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- "Nuclear Energy Act (990/1987) (eng.)" (PDF). Finlex.
- http://www.kokoomus.fi/mp/db/file_library/x/IMG/26558/file/Energia-jailmastopoliittinenkannanottoluonnoswww.doc Energia- ja ilmastopoliittinen kannanotto, Kansallinen Kokoomus 2006
- http://www.keskusta.fi/includes/loader.aspx?id=6b6636d7-f713-410e-8f58-acd1b84fb928 Keskustan tavoitteet vaalikaudelle 2007–2011
- Tuohinen Petteri: Ydinvoiman kannatus on kasvanut EU:ssa. Ydinvoiman kannatus on kasvanut kolmessa vuodessa merkittävästi Euroopan unionin jäsenmaissa, selviää EU-komission julkaisemasta tuoreesta mielipidekyselystä. Helsingin Sanomat 5.7.2008 
- "Nuclear Power in Finland". Country Briefings. World Nuclear Association. February 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- "Finland". Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA). June 20, 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-05.