Defence Ministry demands risk assessment of Fennovoima plant, cites ties with Russia

The construction of the controversial power plant in Pyhäjoki on Finland's northwest coast has been marred by delays since its inception.

The Fennovoima consortium hope to obtain a building license by the summer of 2022 and that construction of the power plant might begin in the summer of 2023. Image: Timo Nykyri / Yle

Finland's Ministry of Defence has called for a risk assessment to be carried out on the controversial Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki on Finland's northwest coast.

The plant is being built by the Fennovoima power consortium, which includes the Russian nuclear firm Rosatom.

In a statement, the ministry highlighted the economic and geopolitical risks associated with the project and also called for the plant's fuel to be supplied from other sources rather than coming exclusively from Russia.

"Carrying out such risk analyses has become somewhat more common. We see more clearly than before that there could be a reason for this in this context," the ministry's Sara Kajander told news agency STT.

Kajander added that the assessment could be compiled by a group composed of several different authorities and specialists, but would not comment on whether the assessment could put the long-delayed project in jeopardy.

Earlier this year, the Fennovoima consortium announced that it is hoping to obtain a building license by the summer of 2022 and that construction of the power plant might begin in the summer of 2023.

The ministry has suggested that the risk assessment could be carried out in conjunction with the license permit decision.

The project has been marred by a long list of delays and controversies since its inception, including investors pulling out and environmental groups protesting the plans.

In addition to timeline issues, the consortium also previously announced that the cost of the project could rise by as much as one billion euros, from the previous estimate of between 6.5 and 7 billion euros to between 7 and 7.5 billion euros.