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Prime Minister Urges Brussels To Consider Finland’s Concerns Over Olkiluoto-3

By David Dalton
26 September 2016

Prime Minister Urges Brussels To Consider Finland’s Concerns Over Olkiluoto-3
The Olkiluoto-3 nuclear plant under construction in Finland. Photo courtesy TVO.

26 Sep (NucNet): Brussels should make sure it considers Finland’s concerns during its investigation into a proposed state-backed rescue package for France’s nuclear reactor maker Areva, Finland’s prime minister Juha Sipilä said. In an interview with the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, Mr Sipilä said it is important that any restructuring allows for the completion of the delayed Olkiluoto-3 EPR project “as planned” by the end of 2018. Areva, which is 87 percent owned by the French state, is building the reactor as part of a consortium with Siemens for Finnish nuclear operator Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO). Areva is negotiating a government-backed rescue package that will see it raise €5bn ($5.6bn) in the markets. It is also selling a majority stake in its reactor making division Areva NP, valued at €2.5bn, to rival French nuclear group EDF. In July 2016 Brussels opened a full investigation into the package, raising the possibility of stricter restructuring conditions being attached to public support for Areva. While such state support for restructuring can be permitted in certain circumstances, the package of aid usually comes with EU conditions. It must contribute to “an objective common interest” while avoiding distorting competition in markets. TVO and Areva-Siemens have accused each other of causing the delays at Olkiluoto-3 and each side is seeking for billions of euros in compensation. Mr Sipilä said he hopes that Areva’s rescue plan, currently being examined by the French government and separately by the European Commission, will take account of the Finns, but pointed out that the government of Finland is not party to any of the negotiations.

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