April 15, 2014 / 3:56 PM / 4 years ago

Rosatom says Finnish nuclear project unharmed by sanctions

* Fennovoima signs investment decision on reactor

* Russia’s Rosatom owns 33 pct, option to buy more

* Sees no harm from Western sanctions

* Concerns over Finnish owners as majority stake required

By Jussi Rosendahl

HELSINKI, April 15 (Reuters) - A Finnish-Russian plan to build a nuclear reactor in western Finland will not be at risk from international sanctions imposed over the Ukraine crisis, a Rosatom executive said on Tuesday.

Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom said last month some of its international contracts could fall under the political curbs. Britain had already said it would review its pact with the company after Russian forces seized Ukraine’s Crimea region.

However, Rosatom envisages the 4-6 billion euro ($5.5-8.3 billion) Finnish project, in which it has agreed to take a 33-percent stake, will proceed as planned - even though questions remain over ownership on the Finnish side of the deal.

“It’s out of political issues ... all decisions are made according to business issues,” Anastasia Zoteeva, the vice president of Rusatom Overseas - the export arm of Rosatom - told a news conference in Helsinki.

“I don’t see any political issues in that sense ... when you think about business, common sense always wins.”

Fennovoima, owned by Rosatom and some 40 Finnish companies such as steel firms Outokumpu and Rautaruukki , on Tuesday finalised the contracts ready to build the 1,200-megawatt reactor at Pyhajoki.

However, an announcement last month by retailer Kesko that it was quitting the consortium has raised concerns that the plant, scheduled to start operating in 2024, may not meet the level of Finnish majority ownership required by parliament.

Kesko’s departure would effectively drop the confirmed Finnish ownership below 50 percent, but Pekka Ottavainen, the chairman of Finnish owners’ co-operative, said he was still counting Kesko in.

“We have a slightly different view on who is aboard and who is not,” he told reporters, citing Kesko’s earlier commitment to the project.

He also said he was looking for new investors with an aim to boost the Finnish holding up to the full 66 percent and added that several companies were mulling the investment.

If no new investors showed up until summer, Rosatom has an option to increase its holding to 49 percent, he said.

Kesko was not immediately available to comment. ($1 = 0.7238 euros) (Editing by Alison Williams)

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