Finnish parliament should vote again on Fennovoima reactor: minister

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 26, 2013 8:38 AM

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen said parliament should hold a new vote on nuclear consortium Fennovoima's permit to build a nuclear reactor after it chose a supplier not included in original plans.

The suggested move would mean extra uncertainty for Fennovoima's plans, already strained by the weakened financial conditions of some of its stakeholders such as miner Talvivaara and stainless steel maker Outokumpu.

Fennovoima in July chose Russia's Rosatom as its main supplier candidate for a planned reactor, instead of France's Areva and Japan's Toshiba, which were under consideration when parliament approved its original permit in 2010.

"Rosatom's partnership is a new element...therefore it would be justified that parliament update its decision and the project move forward as smoothly as possible," Urpilainen told public broadcaster YLE on Saturday.

A survey by Finnish newspaper Tekniikka & Talous in August showed renewed approval from parliament was not certain. Of 112 parliamentarians surveyed, 45 said they would approve it, while 26 said they would vote against approving a permit and the rest were either undecided or did not respond.

While the conservative, pro-nuclear National Coalition has the biggest number of seats in Finland's 200-member parliament, it needs support from other parties to reach a majority.

The eight parties in parliament include a number of leftists and Green Party members opposed to building nuclear reactors. Since 2010 when 121 voted to approve the reactor and 71 opposed it, the traditionally agrarian and pro-nuclear Centre Party has dropped out of government.

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The 1,200-megawatt reactor is intended to secure cheap energy for stake holders, who are due to decide by the end of the month on whether to proceed with plans.

There have been concerns that a few of the 60 members would opt out due to worries about costs, making it difficult for the project to go ahead.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Angus MacSwan)