Three Finnish towns stand by Fennovoima reactor plans - report

HELSINKI Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:16am EDT

HELSINKI Oct 22 (Reuters) - Three Finnish municipalities remain committed to nuclear consortium Fennovoima, public broadcaster YLE said on Tuesday, ahead of the consortium's decision on whether to go ahead with plans for a new reactor.

Fennovoima's stake holders are to decide by the end of the month on whether to commit to plans for a reactor, due to be built by Russia's Rosatom and begin production in 2024.

There were concerns that some stake holders would opt out due to worries about costs, making it difficult for the project to go ahead. Rural utilities provider Etela Savon Energia, one of around 60 shareholders, said last week it planned to sell its stake.

The municipalities of Tornio, Kemi and Keminmaa were still committed to Fennovoima's plans, YLE reported on its website. The three municipal governments own stakes in Fennovoima through their local utilities.

Officials at the municipalities could not immediately be reached for comment.

The proposed 1,200-megawatt reactor is estimated to cost 4-6 billion euros ($5-8 billion) and is intended to secure cheap energy for stake holders, which also include stainless steel maker Outokumpu and retailer Kesko.

Some stakeholders, including Outokumpu and nickel miner Talvivaara, are currently struggling to turn around their businesses, putting pressure on their finances.

Doubts over the Fennovoima project were also raised last year following the departure of investor E.ON. Rosatom, however, has said it may take a 34 percent stake in the project, which would help to secure funds for the reactor. (Reporting by Helsinki newsroom; Editing by Mark Potter)

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