Katainen, who is also chair of the conservative National Coalition Party, told the newspaper Kaleva that three new nuclear units would improve the competitiveness of Finnish industry. The nation's fifth commercial reactor is under construction.
Katainen's view was dismissed on Monday morning by Minister of Economic Affairs Mauri Pekkarinen of the Centre Party and the government's climate policy expert, MP Oras Tynkkynen of the Greens.
Interviewed on YLE Radio News' morning talk show, Pekkarinen pointed out that Katainen's position on the issue has not changed. Pekkarinen, who is overseeing the application process, declined to speculate on how many permits might be granted.