Blasting at the site of the newly scrapped nuclear power project of Fennovoima in Pyhäjoki, North Ostrobothnia, in November 2021. The Finnish nuclear energy company is presently focusing on preserving the site after terminating its supplier contract with Russian state-owned atomic energy company Rosatom in late April. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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THE LEGAL FIGHT over Fennovoima’s failed nuclear power project has started.

Joachim Specht, the chief executive of Fennovoima, told Helsingin Sanomat last weekend that the company has initiated arbitration proceedings against Rosatom, the Russian state-owned atomic energy company selected as the plant supplier.

The case entails numerous bones of contention, key among which is an 800-million-euro down payment Fennovoima made to Raos Project, the Finnish subsidiary of Rosatom. Specht revealed that altogether the company has presented demands for damages worth almost two billion euros in the arbitration proceedings.

Fennovoima stated in its annual report for last year that it has almost 200 million euros in outstanding interest receivables from Rosatom.

Also Rosatom has threatened litigation, arguing that its plant supplier contract was terminated illegally. Specht told Helsingin Sanomat that Rosatom has yet to recourse to legal action but estimated that it is “very likely” to do so.

Fennovoima is therefore faced with what should be a protracted legal dispute with risks totalling several billions of euros. The dispute is relevant also for ordinary citizens due to the stakes many municipal energy utilities have in Fennovoima. The recent collapse of the energy project could, at worst, dent the ability of utilities to pay dividends or compel them to raise prices.

The Finnish company terminated its plant supplier contract with Rosatom in April, roughly two months after Russia invaded Ukraine. It cited recurring delays and other problems, rather than the war, as grounds for the termination. Rosatom has viewed that the delays were an excuse for what was a strictly political decision, arguing that the early hiccoughs had been overcome and the project was advancing in the right direction.

Specht revealed to Helsingin Sanomat that Rosatom had warned Fennovoima of further delays earlier this year.

“The notified us about the risk of several-year delays. It was included in their project plans. That was one reason why we had to terminate the project,” he stated.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT