A turbine hall in the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant. LEHTIKUVA

Finland in the world press

Here is a selection of what the international press has published about Finland in the last week:

Britain looks to Finland for a nuclear waste solution

Finland establishing the world’s first underground storage facility for spent nuclear fuel, was covered in an article by The Times on March 30.

The article discusses Finland’s groundbreaking initiative for the repository, called the Onkalo repository, as a nuclear waste solution.

Located on Olkiluoto Island, the facility is being developed by Posiva Oy and aims to provide a long-term solution for the disposal of highly radioactive waste. Each tunnel of the storage site can accommodate 35 canisters of waste and will be sealed with a concrete plug.

The article highlights how the repository, is being closely observed by scientists in Britain as they seek solutions for the 5-10% of nuclear waste that cannot be stored at the UK’s low-level waste repository. Despite previous unsuccessful attempts, progress is being made in identifying potential sites in Cumbria and Lincolnshire, with community consent being a crucial factor.

Comparatively, Finland underwent rigorous site selection process for its nuclear waste disposal facility, which initially identified 101 sites, narrowed down to four, with Olkiluoto being chosen. The facility is situated near three of the country's nuclear reactors, responsible for a significant portion of Finland's electricity production.

Currently, spent fuel is stored in temporary casks on-site. The Onkalo repository’s design features cavernous tunnels capable of housing 35 canisters each, with automated processes ensuring safe storage.

Original story was published by The Times on 30.03.2024 and can be found here.

Finland confesses American deal ‘restricts sovereignty’

The article discussing Finland’s admission regarding the new defense cooperation agreement (DCA) negotiated with the United States and its implications for the country’s sovereignty, was published in MENAFN on March 31. As Finland navigates the complexities of the DCA, the article highlights that debates are expected to intensify, given the challenges of balancing security cooperation with maintaining national autonomy in foreign policy decisions.

Following Finland’s decision to join NATO, the agreement was signed, granting the U.S. military access to Finnish bases and allowing for the deployment of military equipment on Finnish soil. The Finnish Foreign Ministry acknowledged that the DCA will impose limitations on Finland’s sovereignty, requiring a two-thirds majority in parliament for ratification.

A key aspect of the agreement is the establishment of legal protections for U.S. military personnel and facilities operating in Finland. Additionally, it permits the free movement of U.S. aircraft, ships, and vehicles within Finnish territory. These provisions have raised concerns about the extent to which Finland can independently determine its defense and foreign policy decisions, sparking debates over the balance between national security interests and sovereignty.

The Finnish parliament has until May 12 to review and provide feedback on the draft proposal for ratification. The discussions surrounding the DCA represent a significant shift in Finland’s defense strategy, marking a departure from its longstanding policy of neutrality. While some view the agreement as a safeguard against security threats, others worry about the potential erosion of Finnish sovereignty.

Original story was published by MENAFN on 31.03.2024 and can be found here.

ARCTIC WARFARE Finland readying for David & Goliath war at ‘Arctic Sparta’ base where Putin’s troops face slaughter on Nato’s doorstep

Finland’s strategic positioning at Arctic Sparta bas against Russia was covered in an article by The Sun on April 1. The article delves Into Finland’s military readiness in the face of potential conflict with Russia, particularly focusing on the “Arctic Sparta” base in Ivalo. This base serves as a critical outpost for NATO, situated near Russia’s border and close to Putin’s nuclear submarine fleet in Murmansk.

The Finnish military, including the renowned Jaeger Brigade, is well-prepared to defend against potential Russian aggression. Despite Finland’s relatively small population, it maintains a robust defense force with conscription, ensuring a sizable reserve capable of mobilizing quickly in the event of an invasion. Specializing in Arctic warfare, these elite soldiers undergo rigorous training to operate effectively in temperatures as low as -30°C, ensuring that Finland maintains a formidable defense capability in the region.

Former Finnish general and MP Pekka Toveri emphasizes Finland’s preparedness to defend itself against any threat, citing a combination of modern weaponry, comprehensive training programs, and strategic positioning as key elements of the country’s defence strategy.

“Even though we have a long border with Russia we have an incredible capability to protect it against military attack,” Pekka Toveri told The Sun.

“Yes we have a long border with Russia…but you have to remember that over 80 per cent of that border is total wilderness,” Toveri said.

“To attack there is extremely difficult and Russia tried that in both the Winter War and the Continental War and they learnt that it was a bad idea as they were encircled and destroyed,” Toveri added.

Historical references, such as the Winter War of 1939, underscore Finland’s resilience and determination to protect its sovereignty against Russian encroachment.

Original story was published by The Sun on 01.04.2024 and can be found here.

Finland to supply vital components for F-35 jets

Finnish defense contractor Patria supplying components for the F-35 jets was covered in an article by Defence Blog on March 29. The article gives details of Patria’s agreement with  Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon’s primary weapons supplier, for direct collaboration within Finland’s F-35 industrial participation program.

This agreement lays the groundwork for the production of landing gear doors for the F-35 global fleet at Patria’s facility in Jämsä, Finland. The project, which involves manufacturing 400 sets of landing gear doors, enhances Finland’s security of supply and contributes to the country’s F-35 industrial participation strategy.

By transferring technical expertise and manufacturing experience, this initiative positions the Finnish industry for future operational and sustainment opportunities. Lockheed Martin’s vice president of F-35 customer programs emphasized the benefits of this collaboration in advancing Finnish industry’s knowledge and capabilities while enhancing security of supply.

This agreement is part of ongoing collaborative efforts between Lockheed Martin and Finnish entities aimed at advancing F-35 production, sustainment, and defense-related technologies.

Original story was published by Defence Blog on 29.03.2024 and can be found here.

Is that a subtle sulk growing on the face of ‘the happiest nation on Earth’?

The opinion article about Finland’s internal challenges despite consistently being named the happiest country in the world, was published in The Economic Times on March 30. The article reflects whether Finland, amidst its happiness ranking, needs to address pressing societal issues.

The article starts with highlighting Finland’s economic challenges, including labour strikes, mental health issues, loneliness, and a declining fertility rate. It mentions that  in 2020, over 400,000 Finns received social insurance compensation for prescription antidepressants, and approximately 1 million people are diagnosed with mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Economic concerns persist as Finland experiences GDP decline and labor unrest, with ongoing strikes protesting proposed labour reforms by the right-wing government.

The article also states that although the World Happiness Report consistently ranks Finland as the happiest country, many Finns express disbelief, citing complex factors like mental health and loneliness not adequately reflected in the survey. Finland’s declining fertility rate and aging population raise questions about the need for more work-age immigrants and whether healthcare facilities can meet future demands.

The author Sanjoy Narayan is a journalist, columnist and former editor-in-chief, currently based in Finland.

Original story was published by The Economic Times on 30.3.2024 and can be found here.