* Fortum ends deal with Areva-Siemens due to delays
* Rolls-Royce to carry on with modernisation
* Fortum wants new plant permit from next govt
(Adds Fortum comments, background)
By Jussi Rosendahl and Sakari Suoninen
HELSINKI, May 21 Finnish utility Fortum
has terminated a deal with engineering groups Areva
and Siemens and picked a rival to carry
out modernisation work on a nuclear plant, having decided the
project would otherwise take too long.
State-controlled Fortum said on Wednesday it had chosen
Britain's Rolls-Royce to deliver the next phase of
automation systems for the Loviisa plant in southern Finland, in
a project stretching through 2018.
"When we started the second phase of the modernisation (with
Areva-Siemens), it appeared that the implementation would have
been taken too long," said Tiina Tuomela, Fortum's nuclear power
She did not specify the reasons for the delays to work on
the Loviisa reactors, which meet about a tenth of Finland's
power needs and generated 8 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2013.
But she said the decision to bring in Rolls-Royce had
nothing to do with problems at the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant,
which has been hit by repeated delays and soaring costs and
where Areva-Siemens was also the main supplier.
A spokeswoman for Areva Finland said: "We have agreed with
Fortum to discontinue the project. It wasn't about our
technology, they only decided to look for a different solution".
She declined to elaborate.
The deal value was not disclosed, but Fortum invested 60
million euros ($82 million) in Loviisa last year, and it has
said such investments will grow in the future. The Finnish
company gave no reason for picking Rolls-Royce but noted its
technology was installed in more than 200 nuclear reactors
across 20 countries.
Loviisa's two nuclear reactors were made in the former
Soviet Union, but have Western-made control and automation
systems. Reactor 1 has a license to operate until 2027 and
reactor 2 until 2030.
Previous work on the automation systems managing the two
reactions was completed by Areva-Siemens in 2009 and Fortum
wants to modernise the systems to ensure they keep running
safely in coming years.
The Finnish group also hopes to develop a new reactor at
Loviisa, but has this has so far been rejected by Finnish
legislators in favour of rival initiatives - both of which have
lately suffered setbacks.
The current five-party ruling coalition, including the Green
party, has said it will not approve new nuclear permits, but
Tuomela said Fortum hoped to get a go-ahead from the next
government, due to be formed next year.
"It is clear we would like to continue and develop nuclear
operations in Loviisa," she said.
Rolls-Royce, best known for making aero engines, said last
week it was in talks to sell to Siemens its unit making
equipment for the oil and gas industry and power-generation gear
for utilities, but this excluded its activities in the nuclear
($1 = 0.7302 Euros)
(Editing by David Holmes)