Finland says has no role in Areva-TVO dispute

HELSINKI, Jan 21 (Reuters) - The Finnish government has no role to play in the dispute between French state-owned nuclear reactor builder Areva and its Finnish customer TVO, a Finnish government source told Reuters on Thursday.

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday he had agreed with his Finnish counterpart Olli Rehn to give the companies and shareholders one month to find the conditions for an agreement.

Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) and an Areva-led consortium with Siemens are claiming billions of euros from one another in an arbitration suit over cost overruns and delays to the reactor Areva is building in Olkiluoto, Finland, for TVO.

“In Finland, it is not possible for the state to instruct private companies. Olkiluoto 3 is purely a matter for the two companies,” the source said, adding that no timetable on the process had been planned either and that the government will not intervene in the arbitration in any way.

A TVO spokesman declined to comment on Macron’s statement but said the dispute was a matter for the companies.

While Areva is 87 percent state-owned, TVO is a private company, whose owners include paper companies UPM and Stora Enso as well as utility Fortum.

TVO has a 2.6 billion euro ($2.8 billion) claim against the Areva-Siemens consortium at the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) arbitration court, while Areva-Siemens have a 3.4 billion euro counter-claim.

TVO’s claim is holding up a planned takeover of Areva’s reactor building unit by fellow state-owned utility EDF, which does not want to take responsibility for it.

Areva had been given a 3 billion euro turnkey contract to build a European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), the first of its kind, for TVO, but building costs ballooned to more than 9 billion euros and the project is years behind schedule. ($1 = 0.9184 euros) (Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; writing by Geert De Clercq; editing by Adrian Croft)