Government approves Russian reactor, Greens leave

Pyhäjoki nuclear power plant will be built south of Oulu in northern Finland.

Finland’s coalition government on Thursday approved plans for building a new nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki with Russian designed reactor.


To be located south of Oulu in northern Finland, the nuclear power plant (NPP) will be the second within the Barents Region. Like the four reactors at Kola NPP, the one in Pyhäjoki will also have a water-cooled Russian designed reactor.

Finland is one of the few countries in Europe that builds new nuclear power plants. Pyhäjoki is only 150 kilometers from the border to Sweden and the plan has triggered protests in Norrbotten where inhabitants fear consequences of an accident.

In Finland, the government coalition party Green League has actively opposed more nuclear power. Therefore, the party yesterday decided to leave the Government after the majority voted “yes” to the plans, reports YLE.

Ville Niinistö leaves the Government.

Green League has the Minister of Environment, Ville Niinistö.

On the Swedish side of the border, the group Nuclear Free Bothnia argues that the Russian reactor in question is only a prototype that so far is not built anyplace in the world. Per Lundbäck in the organization says to Norrbotten Socialdemokraten that the Russian technology development does not sound safe and that there are many unanswered questions regarding the handling of the nuclear waste. 

The Russian designed 1,200 MW reactors, named AES-2006, will be one of the largest in the world. There are no such reactors in operation today, but a number of them are proposed to be built at nuclear power plants in Russia, including the Leningrad and NovovoronezhNPPs as earlier reported by BarentsObserver.

When now approved by the Government, the plan will be sent to the parliament for final approval.