Finland hails ‘historic day’ as it seeks to join Nato
According to a new survey, a record number of Finns are in favour of nuclear energy, as climate change and Russia’s dominance in natural gas threaten global energy security. The study, commissioned by Finnish Energy, has found that 60 percent of the population were in favour of nuclear, while only 11 percent opposed it. The survey was conducted in April, over a month after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, bringing an already crippling fossil fuel energy crisis to new heights.
The European Union, which is heavily reliant on Russian gas, has paid Moscow hundreds of millions every day since the invasion began, effectively fuelling the Russian war machine.
Finnish Energy has conducted this study on a regular basis since 1983, and found that nuclear energy is more popular now than it has ever been before.
While climate change has been cited as the biggest reason for Finns supporting nuclear power, Russia’s invasion has likely given the population a more dire sense of urgency in reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
The surveyed people were very concerned about the need to rapidly transform the energy system by replacing fossil fuels in transport, heating and other uses.
In the last year, Helsinki generated a massive 87 percent of its energy from renewable and nuclear sources.
Experts predict this figure will rise further to 90 percent by 2023, with the new Olkiluoto 3 reactor playing a crucial role in electricity generation.
Many critics of nuclear energy, particularly in Germany and Austria, cite the disposal of nuclear waste as a key reason for opposing this type of renewable power.
Alternatives to Russian gas
However, Finland’s new plan to bury the used up nuclear fuel 430 meters under the ground is likely to have boosted its popularity.
Experts believe that doing so would isolate the waste from the organic environment through safety solutions called release barriers, which will prevent it from coming into contact with the surface world.
Meanwhile, a different study conducted by Greenpeace found 76 percent of Finns are willing to end Russian energy imports even if that would mean prices rise.
Helsinki has also taken a defiant stance against Russia’s dominance in the energy industry by refusing to pay Moscow in rubles, even after Putin threatened to cut off gas supplies.
Finland has also refused to pay for energy in rubles
Finns are eager to cut russian gas
Earlier this week, Finland’s state-owned energy provider Gasum said it would take its dispute over ruble payments with Russia’s energy behemoth Gazprom to arbitration proceedings.
Gasum CEO Mika Wiljanen said in a statement: “In this situation, Gasum had no choice but to take the contract to arbitration.
“In this challenging situation, we will do our utmost to be able to supply our Finnish customers with the energy they need.”
As a result of Finland’s bid to join NATO, Finnish ministers are preparing for a strong retaliation from Moscow, with some ministers saying that Russia could cut off energy supplies at any point.