HELSINKI, October 27 (Itar-Tass) - Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen has called on the country’s government to refrain from debates around the Russian-Finnish Hanhikivi-1 nuclear power plant project.
“We must not now indulge in debates about it,” he told the Radio Suomi on Sunday. The project, in his words, needed a thorough study, which was the task for the ministry of labour and economy, since the situation was rather complicated from the legal point of view. “We want to be sure that the process goes on in line with the law. Evan legal experts differ on that matter.”
On Saturday, Minister of Finance Jutta Urpilainen said the issue of the plant’s construction should be submitted to the parliament the soonest possible, while Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori called for a more restrained approach.
“A number of aspects are now under consideration. We should finish this work first. We have a lot of examples of what may happen when some aspects are not clarified,” Vapaavuori wrote in one of social networks.
Meanwhile, Urpilainen noted that it was necessary to take into account new circumstances, i.e. the participation of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom, rather than to revise the project from the very beginning. “I don’t think lawmakers will be against this project,” she said, adding that the project had already won approval of the parliament.
The Russian company Rusatom Overseas (Rosatom’s subsidiary) and Finland's Fennovoima plan to sign a nuclear plant construction agreement by year-end. Finland's parliament licensed Fennovima to build the power plant back in the summer of 2010, but the Russian company was not mentioned as the reactor's supplier then. Therefore, two new reports on the plant’s environmental compatibility and safety will be drawn up in the following six months. Fennovoima has already referred a report regarding the safety aspects of the would-be nuclear plant Hanhikivi-1, to be constructed in Pyhäjoki, Northern Finland, to Finnish ministry of labour and economy and to the Finnish Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).
Rusatom Overseas is to supply a 1,200 MW reactor. The company may also get a 34%-stake in Fennovoima’s authorized capital.
Construction works will begin no earlier than 2015. The plant is expected to go on stream in 2024. According to media reports, the project cost is to reach 6.5 billion euro, of which 1.6 billion euro will come from Fennovoima, and the rest of the sum - from Rosatom.