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Fortum to invest in Fennovoima reactor

Majority-state-owned Fortum announced on Wednesday morning that it will join in the controversial Fennovoima nuclear power project.

Timo Karttinen
Timo Karttinen Image: Anni Reenpää / Lehtikuva

Finland’s largest power company, Fortum, has decided to buy a 6.6 percent stake in the Fennovoima nuclear power venture. Fortum’s participation will be via the Voimaosakeyhtiö SF consortium, the main owner of the planned plant in Pyhäjoki, western Finland. The government had originally set June 30 as the deadline for domestic ownership in the project, but has suggested that it would consider any developments before its final decision on the project, due on Thursday 6 August.

Also on Wednesday, the construction company SRV said it would invest in the project, while its likely biggest customer, Tornio-based steelmaker Outokumpu said it would boost its ownership stake. That will apparently push the domestic or European ownership level above the 60 percent level required by Parliament last year.

Fortum backs down from Russian demand

The majority-state-owned Fortum had earlier stipulated that its participation would be contingent on reaching a major hydro-electric deal with Russian power company TGC-1, which is has sought since last December. The Russian firm Rosatom aims to build, supply and own nearly one-third of the Fennovoima facility. With no approval forthcoming from Moscow for the water-power contract, Fortum has apparently now backed down from its earlier demand.

“Fennovoima is an important venture for Finnish society,” says Fortum’s interim CEO Timo Karttinen, who adds that building a new plant in Pyhäjoki has not been a goal of Fortum, as the utility already owns two reactors in Lovisa, south-east Finland, along with a stake in the Olkiluoto units near Pori.

“Through our participation, the Fennovoima venture can benefit from Fortum’s multi-faceted know-how and technical skills in the nuclear power sector. At the same time Fortum can continue its good, long-running partnership with Rosatom and further develop its own know-how,” Karttinen said on Wednesday morning.

A recent poll showed that a majority of Finns oppose the Fennovoima plan.

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