TVO has asked for more time to complete its delay-ridden expansion project at Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant.The Government faces two new in-principle decisions on nuclear power projects, after Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) announced on Tuesday that it will request an extension to the in-principle decision granted for the construction of a fourth reactor at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant and a new time limit for filing the building permit application.

“[Work on] Olkiluoto 3 has been delayed to the extent that we can't make any big decisions on Olkiluoto 4. All the conditions and grounds for Olkiluoto 4 remain in tact. It's only a question of timing,” explains Jorma Tanhua, the CEO at TVO.

Under the current in-principle decision, TVO must apply for a building permit for Olkiluoto 4 by the end of June 2015.

TVO has asked for the time limit to be extended by five years.

In addition, the Government must take a new in-principle decision on the nuclear power project of Fennovoima in Pyhäjoki due to the withdrawal of Germany's E.ON from the project.

If the in-principle decisions are granted, the Parliament can either rescind or approve the decisions as such.

The Minister of Economic Affairs, Jan Vapaavuori (NCP), says that it is now necessary to consider whether such a notable extension can be granted to TVO. “It's obvious that if more time is granted, it can't be as much as five years,” he views.

Vapaavuori on Tuesday also underlined that the Government must consider the applications of both TVO and Fennovoima sooner rather than later in order to be able to present them to the Parliament in the autumn.

“We may even have to consolidate the schedules of the projects. If both are approved by the Government, they'll be presented to the Parliament in the same context,” he said.

Ville Niinistö, the Minister of the Environment, believes the in-principle decisions on nuclear power have become a farce. Nuclear power, he argues, is no longer pertinent or economically cost-effective.

Olli Pohjanpalo, Petri Sajari – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Jussi Partanen