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Finland’s Hanhikivi 1 reactor on track, unaffected by sanctions

A planned nuclear reactor in western Finland, owned by a Finnish-Russian consortium, will meet its 2024 commissioning target despite delays in licensing, and will not be affected by sanctions on Russia, supplier Rosatom said.

The start date of the 1.2 gigawatt (GW) Hanhikivi 1 reactor has been in question since September, when owner Fennovoima said the construction licence it needed from the authorities would take a year longer to get due to delays.

The Fennovoima consortium, of which about a third is owned by a Rosatom unit, had also expressed concerns in its annual report that economic sanctions on Russia could affect its banks’ ability to guarantee the project’s funding.

“We strongly believe that Hanhikivi 1 can be commissioned in 2024 as planned. And we’re ready to deal with unpredictable circumstances, should they arise, and will adapt as necessary,” a Rosatom spokesman told Reuters in an email.

He said Rosatom was working on providing the delayed documentation to Finnish regulator STUK during 2018 in order to get the required construction permit to build the reactor.

“EU sanctions against Russia won’t affect the timeframe of the Hanhikivi 1 project. None of the people involved in the project are on the sanctions list,” the spokesman added.

Hanhikivi 1, estimated to cost between 6.5 billion and 7 billion euros ($8.0-$8.6 billion), is set to start producing electricity commercially in 2024, five years after another long-delayed Finnish reactor, Olkiluoto 3, comes online.

The costs of Olkiluoto 3 (OL3), a reactor that was initially planned to begin production in 2009, have spiralled from 3.2 billion euros to 5.5 billion euros, owner TVO said last week, and there was a risk of that rising even further.

In contrast to OL3, supplied by Areva and Siemens , Fennovoima’s reactor was unlikely to exceed the budget, Rosatom said.

“We have a vested interest, as investor and supplier, to make sure that the Hanhikivi 1 project is achieved within the set budget,” the spokesman said.

Fennovoima is 66 percent owned by Voimaosakeyhtio SF, which includes more than 50 Finnish regional utilities and other companies. Rosatom’s RAOS Voima Oy unit holds the remaining 34 percent.

In October, Rosatom had to delay another European project to build two reactors in Hungary worth 12.5 billion euros, facing regulatory hurdles from the European Union.

$1 = 0.8144 euros Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Editing by Mark Potter

Source: Reuters