Finland's Ministry of Economic Affairs has proposed renewing the operating licence for Fortum's Loviisa nuclear power plant for another twenty years.
The move follows the majority-state-owned Fortum's application for new operating licences for both of Loviisa's units, completed in 1978 and 1980. Their permits are set to run out in 2027 and 2030.
Riku Huttunen, who heads the ministry's energy department, said the two units at Finland's first nuclear power plant could continue producing electricity through the year 2050.
"We'll wrap up our proposal in the next few weeks and then it will head to the government," explained Huttunen.
The government can greenlight licence extensions without parliamentary approval.
While Finland has increased its share of wind and solar power, the ministry said it remained important to extend the Loviisa permits.
Huttunen noted that Loviisa's two units account for around ten percent of the country's electricity production, adding that renewables like wind and solar are weather dependent.
"Loviisa's extension is very important for Finland's energy supply," said Huttunen.
Finland's nuclear authority STUK has also approved plans to keep Loviisa operational through the end of 2050.
"As a result of the Loviisa power plant's continuous improvement of safety and ageing management, the power plant is in good condition and the lifetime extension is possible," Sasu Valkamo, VP of the Loviisa plant, said in a statement issued by STUK in late January.
The permit extensions still require EU approval, but this should not be a problem, according to Huttunen.
At full capacity, the combined output of both Loviisa units is 500 megawatts. In comparison, the new Olkiluoto 3 reactor can reach a maximum output of 1,600 megawatts once it is fully operational, which its operator Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said should happen on 14 March.