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CEO of nuclear power outfit Fennovoima quits

Toni Hemminki leaves the long-delayed nuclear project for the Wega Group, which focuses on biofuels and emission reductions.

Toni Hemminki
Toni Hemminki Image: Seppo Samuli / Lehtikuva
Yle News

The CEO of the nuclear power consortium Fennovoima, Toni Hemminki, announced on Thursday that he is stepping down at the end of the month.

"I will continue as the CEO until the end of October and after that I will be an advisor to the management until the end of 2019. Early next year I will join the energy sector company Wega Group as a shareholder," he said in a statement.

According to Wega, he will become Chief Operating Officer and a partner rather than just a shareholder. Hemminki joined the board of the Espoo-based energy firm last year.

Its founder and CEO, Niko Ristikankare, says Hemminki "will further strengthen our skilled team and growth path towards the most wanted partner within the clean energy industry and cost-efficient emission reductions".

Former steel company representative

Hemminki has been involved with Fennovoima since it was founded in 2007, first as as a representative of one of its founders, steelmaker Rautaruukki, which merged with SSAB in 2014.

From 2012 to 2014, he served on the board of Voimaosakeyhtiö SF, an electricity cooperative that co-owned Fennovoima with the large German power company E.ON, until the latter pulled out of the project in 2012, to be replaced two years later by RAOS, a subsidiary of Russian parastatal Rosatom.

In 2013 Hemminki joined Fennovoima's board, becoming CEO the following year.

Okkonen to stand in for now

Chief Operating Officer Timo Okkonen will fill in while Fennovoima looks for a replacement.

Okkonen was promoted from his previous post of Chief Development Officer last spring after joining the nuclear firm at the end of 2018. He worked for nuclear safety watchdog Stuk in the early 2000s.

Last week Okkonen said the company's goal still hopes to be granted a construction license in 2021 for what would be Finland's third nuclear power plant, and its first entirely new one since the 1970s.

The plant was originally envisaged to have begun producing electricity in 2016-18. After the decision to switch to a Russian-made reactor, the estimated start date was 2024. That has now been pushed back to 2028.

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