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Helsinki votes to continue support for Fennovoima nuclear project

Helsinki city councillors voted Wednesday to maintain the city’s ownership in the nuclear power facility to be constructed by Fennovoima in Pyhäjoki, northwest Finland. A motion by Green League councillors calling on the city to pull out of the project was defeated by 49 votes to 32.

Havainnekuva Rosatomin AES-2006-laitoksesta.
An artist's impression of Fennovoima's proposed nuclear facility in Pyhäjoki, northwest Finland. Image: Fennovoima

The outcome of Wednesday’s vote means that the city will maintain its stake in the nuclear power plant to be constructed in Hanhikivi in Pyhäjoki. A councillors' group led by the Greens had previously tabled a motion calling on Helsinki to withdraw from the nuclear project driven by the Finnish energy consortium Fennovoima.

The plant is also partly owned by the Russian state-owned nuclear contractor Rosatom, who will also construct the plant. The city of Helsinki has a minority stake in the project via the Vantaa energy company, amounting to just a few percent.

During Wednesday’s vote a majority of 49 councillors supported the city’s continued involvement in the project, while 32 voted against its participation.

Fennovoima moving full speed ahead

Last Friday Yle reported that Fennovoima was making rapid headway with the project and had begun preparing the proposed building site for construction, even though the consortium had not yet received a final building permit from local authorities.

The project has come in for a great deal of criticism from locals facing displacement as a result of compulsory land purchases. Meanwhile concerns about possible environmental damage have been raised by residents of Pyhäjoki as well as neighbouring Sweden, where 20,000 people signed a petition to can the proposed power facility.

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