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Finnish ministers will not decide on new nuclear power

04.11.2008 Lauri Myllyvirta

The Finnish Cabinet of ministers has today published a new climate and energy strategy. The strategy includes lukewarm measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as increase energy efficiency and renewable energy. The strategy strongly pushes for one new nuclear power plant in addition to the one under construction in Olkiluoto. Half of the potential for energy savings and renewable energy identified in the process has been left out from the strategy in order to persuade the Parliament that more nuclear power is needed.

The energy strategy lacks any mention of the problems with the construction of Olkiluoto 3, the delay and cost overrun, and their impacts on Finnish energy policy.

“In Finland, the Parliament has the final say on nuclear construction. Over 50% of Finnish people are against new nuclear power while only a third are in favor. Supporters of all major parties except the Conservatives strongly prefer renewable energy to nuclear. We expect the parliament to heed this clear opinion of the people when they vote on the applications for new nuclear power plants in spring 2010”, Greenpeace energy campaigner Lauri Myllyvirta said.

Renewable energy and efficiency targets have been scaled down in the strategy in order to make space for the new reactor. 25 TWh more renewables are expected to be deployed by 2020 while the government’s own studies recognize a potential almost double that size. The energy consumption target is in direct conflict with EU target – only 10% reductions in energy consumption, this effort including efficiency measures introduced by EU. Finland has agreed to a 20% energy saving target in the EU. Electricity savings are only 5% from baseline while 15% would be possible. Wind target is 2000 MW by 2020 while the industry says it can deliver 4000 MW. The strategy only aims at a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

“The major argument for nuclear power is adequacy of electricity generation capacity. The government want us to be able to respond also to peak load demand with domestic capacity in order to be independent from Russia. This would be much more realistically, economically and faster achieved by addressing electric heating more aggressively than the government is willing to do. Electric heating makes up over 30% of peak load demand although it consumes only 10% of electricity,” Myllyvirta continued.

More information:
Lauri Myllyvirta, energy campaigner: +358 50 3625 981