Rosatom subsidiary will proceed with Finnish nuclear project

Participants are seen at the stand of Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom during the International military-technical forum "Army-2021" at Patriot Congress and Exhibition Centre in Moscow Region, Russia August 23, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

HELSINKI, April 11 (Reuters) - Russia's state-owned nuclear power supplier Rosatom and its Finnish unit RAOS Project will proceed with a planned nuclear plant in Finland, RAOS said on Monday, despite uncertainty over government permits since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Rosatom and RAOS Project continue fulfilling their obligations under signed agreements and contracts relating to the Hanhikivi 1 project," RAOS Project told Reuters in an email.

Since Russia began what it calls a "special operation" in Ukraine, Finland's minister of economic affairs Mika Lintila has repeatedly said it would be "absolutely impossible" for the government to grant a construction permit for the Hanhikivi plant.

The plant was commissioned by a Finnish-Russian consortium dubbed Fennovoima, in which Finnish stakeholders such as Outokumpu (OUT1V.HE), Fortum (FORTUM.HE) and SSAB (SSABa.ST) own two thirds and Rosatom's subsidiary RAOS Voima holds the rest.

Many of the Finnish stakeholders have publicly expressed their will to pull out and write down the project, but are unwilling to pay RAOS Project for breach of existing contracts and possible indemnities.

Meanwhile, RAOS Project has continued preparatory construction work, such as cabling and excavation in the planned plant's site on the northwest coast of Finland, but cannot embark on building the facility without a government licence.

"RAOS Project Ltd as the ... supplier is acting based on and in accordance with the engineering, procurement and construction contract signed in December 2013 with Fennovoima," it wrote.

Fennovoima had expected to obtain a construction licence from the government by summer 2022 to build the 1.2 gigawatt (GW) reactor, while construction was expected to begin in 2023.

Finland's government was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by David Goodman and David Holmes

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