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Electricity generation in Finland

Energy generation

Finland's electricity is generated from a variety of sources, and has gradually been supplemented by electricity imports.
Renewable sources dominate Finland’s domestic production, accounting for a 57% of total (significantly higher than the EU-27 average of 12%).
Nuclear energy production is also significant, with an increasing rate over recent years. Total
domestic production exhibited an increase of 36% since 1990.

Number of NPPs

Finland currently has four nuclear power reactors, two of which are operated by TVO on the west coast. Approx. 30% of the electricity generated in Finland come from from nuclear power.

Nuclear power

Finland has four nuclear reactors providing 27% of its electricity. A fifth reactor was approved by the government in 2002.
(source: Feb. 2009)

Requirements for new power plants

Any construction of new power plants must fulfil the demands set in the Protocol of the Kyoto Climate Conference on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions which effectively shuts out coal-fired power generation. Hydroelectric power can only be increased a little, say the industry's representatives. The use of other renewable energy sources, such as wood and wind power, is growing rapidly, partly with state support, but as the share of wood use is already high, the possibilities of increasing it are limited. The use of natural gas can be increased in southern Finland. Both wood and gas are already being used, and will continue to be used, in combined heat and power (CHP) generation, which maximises the efficiency ratio. But as the increased use of renewable energy sources and natural gas can cover only an estimated half of the required additional capacity, nuclear power must be kept as an option, says the industry.

Finish procedure concerning powerplants

According to the Finnish Nuclear Energy Act, any company considering a power plant project must apply for a decision in principle from the Government prior to actually launching the project. The Government will decide whether the project is in accordance with the common good. If the decision is positive, it must be laid before Parliament for ratification. Before the government decision, opinions must be requested from various parties, including the municipality in which the plant will be located, and the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. The entire process takes 1-2 years.

Development of the nuclear sector

2010, Dec: Fennovoima has narrowed its reactor selection to EPR and ABWR

The company has approval to build a new nuclear power plant in Finland and is considering two sites on the country's west coast: Simo and Pyhajoki. Both have been shown to be suitable in terms of environmental impact as well as local support and Fennovoima plans to make a final choice next year.

(source: world nuclear news)

2009, Nov: Safety regulators urge to revise control systems of EPR

"Areva has come under pressure after a joint statement from safety regulators urged it to revise control systems for its EPR design.

A message today from British, Finnish and French nuclear safety regulators put it plainly: "The EPR design, as originally proposed by the licensees and the manufacturer, Areva, doesn't comply with the independence principle, as there is a high degree of complex interconnectivity between the control and safety systems."

Reactor designers need to maintain independence between routine control systems and the systems that maintain safety in unusual conditions. This is because some of the safety systems protect against the failure of control systems and for that reason it should be impossible for them to fail together.

This means Areva must re-work the systems to establish sufficient independence while still meeting the varying requirements of the three countries. This is made more difficult for the EPRs in advanced stages of construction in Finland and France, while the UK and US regulatory systems require all studies be complete before construction begins.

In response to the unusual public statement, Areva noted that that actual safety of the EPR has not been questioned. France's Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité De Sûreté Nucléaire, ASN) posed questions on the topic in October and Areva is "committed" to answering them by the end of this year. The Health and Safety Executive of the UK noted the seriousness of the issue in April and Stuk of Finland first raised queries in December 2008.

The EPR under construction at Olkiluoto is expected to be changed to include a separate analogue back-up system in addition to the current digital I&C set-up. This could be an option for the specific model under construction at Flamanville in France and planned for the UK, and British regulators have previously suggested this to Areva. In Britain, the problem could lead to the exclusion of the instrumentation and control system from EPR's Generic Design Acceptance, meaning that a separate licensing process would have to take place for a new control and safety solution."


2009, Aug: Areva threatens to put final stages of construction of the Olkiluoto-EPR on ice

"PARIS (awp international) - Given a proliferation of billions in losses draws the French group Areva nuclear technology to build the world's first European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) in Finland, the emergency brake. Areva threatened to put the final stages of construction so long on ice until agree with the Finnish partner TVO new agreements on deadlines, costs and practices.

They want "under the contract to redefine the customer relationship to achieve a more effective project management" too. "We do not want to stop the project," said Group chief Anne Lauvergeon. "We just want to start first with the final stages of labor when TVO has agreed to the proposals."

In the first six months of 2009 Areva earmarked another 550 million euros return for the Finnish EPR, built jointly with Siemens, which is already more than three years in arrears. Thus add up the losses at the French project to 2.3 billion euros.

Areva, TVO accused of delaying the construction of extremely slow processing of documents and agreements are not comply. The behavior of the customer making the date of completion and costs uncertain. The consortium Areva-Siemens have already addressed one billion euros to TVO complaints, they say. "More demands are being prepared." Conversely, demand money from TVO, Areva and Siemens.

SURPLUS fuses Operating earnings for the Areva SA broke off because of provisions in the first half from
539 million to 16 million euros. The surplus dwindled from 760 to 161 million euros.
However, sales rose by 5.7 percent to 6.52 billion euros and the order backlog grew 28
percent to 48.88 billion euros. Siemens announced in January to phase out the EPR manufacturer Areva NP.
The plant will draw its option and sell the 34 percent stake in Areva. The French have
to spend 2.05 billion euros. That drove the net debt in the first half of 2009, constructed
from 5.5 to 6.41 billion euros in the air. Shareholders' equity decreased in parallel of 7.29 to
6.69 billion euros. Areva and Siemens, but wanted to allow time to regulate the exit, "said Lauvergeon. In
addition, Areva and Siemens have agreed a long-term cooperation in EPR-control systems.
Areva needs by 2012 eight to twelve billion for investment and want to get the Siemens
exits partners such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in the capital. So far, the state holds 90
percent of the shares."
(source: awp international, distributed by no-nukes-eur list)

A day after the media release of Areva TVO announces that they have not been informed by TVO about discontinuing work or presented any conditions for the continuation of work on the OL3 construction site.

2009, June: Expansion of the planned Posiva repository (in Olkiluoto) approved

"Finland's nuclear waste management company Posiva should be allowed to expand its planned used nuclear fuel disposal facility, the country's radiation and nuclear safety authority has ruled.

Posiva is jointly owned by Finnish nuclear generators TVO and Fortum, and is responsible for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel from Finland's currently operating plants. It applied for a decision-in-principle from the country's government to allow it to expand its planned final repository for used fuel to accommodate that arising from the as-yet unbuilt Olkiluoto 4 nuclear power plant in April 2008. The expansion would increase the capacity of the repository by about a third from the initial plans.

Stuk, the Finnish radiation and nuclear safety authority, says it has now made its preliminary safety assessment of the decision-in-principle application and has told the Finnish government that in its opinion, there are no nuclear safety-related obstacles to expanding the facility. The fuel from the new unit could safely be placed into available disposal area at the Olkiluoto site, says Stuk.

The site for Posiva's repository at Eurajoki near Olkiluoto was selected in 2000, and Posiva is already building an underground characterisation facility known as Onkalo with a view to operation of the repository starting from 2020. The repository site will also house an encapsulation plant that will encase spent fuel assemblies into steel and copper canisters ready to be embedded in clay within a network of tunnels some 400 metres underground in solid bedrock.

Finland has four operating nuclear units with a fifth - Olikiluoto-3 - under construction. Environmental impact assessments are under way for possible new reactors at the two existing nuclear sites (TVO's Olkiluoto 4 and Fortum's Loviisa 3). In addition, joint venture Fennovoima has submitted a decision-in-principle application to build a nuclear power plant at one of three possible new sites.

Posiva submitted a decision-in-principle application for an expansion of the repository to accommodate spent fuel from Loviisa 3 in March 2009. Such an expansion would increase the total capacity of the repository to some 12,000 tonnes of uranium, according to Posiva.

Some issues could arise concerning Fennovoima's bid to build a new reactor because Posiva is owned by TVO and Fortum. The requirement for Fennovoima to show a disposal route for its used nuclear fuel - as well as other radioactive materials - would appear to necessitate it taking part ownership of Posiva, a matter that its rivals TVO and Fortum could affect. "

2009, March: No new reactors for Finland?

The Finnish minister of economic affairs Mauri Pekkarinen says in an interview for
Huvudstadsbladet, the main Swedish speaking newspaper in Finland, that
no new reactors would be needed after Olkiluoto 3. The structural
overhaul of the pulp&paper industry and a bigger investment in
renewables have decreased the need for nuclear. He estimates that at
most one new reactor and possibly none are needed.

Pekkarinen has earlier spoken about one reactor and also hinted at he
possibility of two. In addition to Pekkarinen's stated reasons for
u-turn, there might be some other causes like the fact that his
rural/center party's voters are still clearly against new nuclear and
some important organizations like farmer's union have expressed their
preference for distributed generation.

Pekkarinen possibly truly believed that the pulp&paper industry would
maintain production capacity in Finland if they got more nuclear but now
that those companies are sacking people and closing factories, that
justification probably seems a bit feeble.

The ministers are set to vote in autumn on
the 3 new nuclear applications on the table. If any of the applications
are approved by the ministers, they will be voted on in the parliament
in spring 2010.
(source: no-nukes info list, Lauri Myllyvirta)

2009: 300 demonstrate in Oulu against nuclear power and uranium mining projects

An estimated 300 people marched in Oulu on January 24, 2009, to demonstrate against nuclear power and uranium mining projects. The demonstration was organized by Ydinverkosto external link (Nuclear Network), a movement in northern Finland which opposes uranium mining and nuclear power. (source:

2008: Up to three new NPPs for Finland

Currently three Environmental Impact Assessments about the construction of new reactors are in process:

  • The construction of a third reactor in Loviisa,
  • the construction of a 4th reactor in Olkiluoto and
  • the construction of a new NPP at Fennovoima

The fith Finnish reactor, Olkiluoto-3, will not be completed until 2012. The plant unit, which will be the first reactor of the EPR (European pressurized reactor) type, should have been ready already in Jan 2009.

2002: Vote of Finnish cabinet about fifth NPP

On the 17th of January 2002 the Finnish cabinet voted ten to six in favour of constructing a fifth nuclear power plant.
According to the Finnish government nuclear power is the most cost-effective option, it will help to stabilise electricity prices and enable Finland to replace coal-fired power stations and so reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Finergy's president doubts it would be sensible to increase the country's reliance on imports from Russia, which he says already accounts for more than 50 per cent of Finland's total energy supply.

This decision was in sharp contrast to developments in its Baltic neighbours, Sweden and Germany, which are planning to phase out nuclear power and decommission plants.

Greenpeace marked that the cost calculations submitted by Teollisuuden Voima, a Finnish power company, to the Finnish authorities with its application to build a fifth nuclear power plant, are not in agreement with international calculations. Greenpeace had also criticised the calculations for the cost of the end storage of the radioactive waste and had predicted that there will be problems with the deposition of the waste, the lifetime of the power plant and the risks associated with a nuclear power plant. In eight Finnish cities people who are against nuclear power demonstrated against an extension of the nuclear power usage in Finland.

The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland (STUK) says that if a fifth commercial nuclear reactor is built in Finland, it must be made more resistant to terrorist attack than the four reactors now in operation.

In February 2002 an opinion poll had shown that 49% do not want any more nuclear power plants while 45% are in favour. The poll also showed that 65% wanted a referendum regarding more nuclear power plants, while 33% said that it was not necessary and 2% had no opinion.
Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Finnish nature protection association had recommended renewable energy sources instead of nuclear power or gas. The fifth nuclear power plant could be avoided and that 40,000-50,000 new jobs could be created by 2010 when the use of renewable energy is extended.

With bare majority (107 to 92) in May 2002 the Finnish parliament in Helsinki gave green light for building the new atomic reactor. The fifth reactor block approved in Finland should be ready for use until 2009. The reactor will be built at Olkiluoto.

2001: Statements against the fifth Nuclear Power Plant

In March 2001 the environmental minister Satu Hassi came out with a statement against a fifth nuclear power station in the country for the following reasons:

  • New policies for spatial planning, housing, construction and waste management could cut Finnish greenhouse gas emissions by the same amounts as would be avoided by building a new nuclear power station (over 6 % of current emission levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent).
  • The proposal of energy firm TVO shows an over-optimistic picture of their own costs with regard to waste management and its assessment of the plant's economic viability, while up-to-date comparative costs for alternative energy sources are failing.
  • The proposals are not specific enough regarding the planned localisation, size and design of a new plant, some suggested reactor designs are untested, the 60-year operating period is unusually long and the predicted 90% operational capacity unusually high.
  • There was lack of consideration given to environmental impact assessment for possible plant sites.
  • The Finnish nuclear accident insurance system should be brought into line with Germany's new system.

Sites With Nuclear Facilities

siteplantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
LoviisaLoviisa-1WWER 44019711977
Loviisa-2WWER 44019721980
OlkiluotoOlkiluotoHLW storage test-facility2002
Olkiluoto-1BWR 70019741978
Olkiluoto-2BWR 70019751980
Olkiluoto-3EPR 16002005