Expressen: Swedish frightened by the decision of the Finnish neighbours to build a nuclear power plant from Rosatom

Finland decided to build a new nuclear power plant which will be located a few dozen kilometers from the coast of Sweden, and this has raised fears among the local population. And when it became clear that a key part in the project will the Russian company “Rosatom”, the Swedes worried more. Now local activists and citizens trying to prevent the construction, writes Expressen.

Expressen: шведы напуганы решением финских соседей построить АЭС от «Росатома»

ReutersНа the Finnish community in Pyhäjoki, located only a few dozen kilometers from the coast of Norrland, the Swedish, the Finnish authorities are planning to build a new nuclear power station. But when it became clear that to engage in the construction will be the Russian state concern Rosatom, the Finnish government needed additional time to analyze the project for potential “security issues”, according to Expressen. Meanwhile, the information about the “Russian” nuclear power plant next door caused a wave of protests in Sweden, where local activists with the support of the population is trying to stop the construction, the article says.

“For 60 years in Butterwick (Northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia) all day will produce 45 cubic meters of warm water per second. It may harm valuable and sensitive nature of our Bay. Besides, there will be life-threatening waste that is not going anywhere else forever,” explains 72-year-old Lena Segerstam, the dealer retired and the official representative of the organization “Bottenwil without nuclear energy.” In her opinion, the use of nuclear energy did not help to solve the threat of climate change, but it can seriously harm valuable nature Botanica.

Segerstam said in an interview with Expressen that she perused all the reports on possible environmental consequences and believes that the safety of this project “not okay”. And participation in the Russia has increased the resistance of local residents, she explained: “This is a huge Russian company connected with nuclear weapons that can change the situation in the field of security we have in the North. No, this let we can’t, we will continue to fight”. Segerstam also recalled a recent incident at a military base in Arkhangelsk region, where the blast during a failed missile tests people died, including those who have been on Rosatom, and the background radiation in the environment at the time was above the norm, the article says.

The project for construction of NPP in Finland can be attributed to the most important cases which for the last ten years was dismantled, the Office of environment of Sweden, said in an interview with Expressen employee management Egon Enocksson. According to him, it was in control of the Espoo Convention (Convention on assessment of environmental impact in a transboundary context), signed in Finland at the initiative of the economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations. According to this Convention, when planning activities having a potential impact on the environment, all countries are obliged to inform their neighbors.

Management of environment of Sweden almost immediately sent the matter back to the municipalities, County administrative boards and environmental organizations. However, when it became clear that the project involved “Rosatom”, the whole process had to be repeated, says Expressen. Sweden has given its response over the alternative of a nuclear reactor in the spring of 2014, and it indicated, among other things, on the need for “a more detailed and in-depth assessment of risks.” All individuals involved in the discussion, “spoke out against the construction,” the article said.

At the same time, Professor of nuclear chemistry and industrial processing from the Technical University of Chalmers, Christian Ekberg believes that nuclear power enjoys “undeserved bad reputation” that has developed even before the Chernobyl accident. “This is partly due to propaganda, when the people are threatened, regardless of the facts, but also with the nature of radioactivity and radiation. When people drown or burn, we can take action, but when we encounter something that is not perceived by the senses, we begin to fear it as something mystical,” he explains.

According to Ekberg, from Finland is really reasonable to require a safety assessment of the reactor of the new type that you plan to use in Pyhäjoki. However, this does not mean that you need to advance to abandon the project, the expert explained: “the Reactors differ from each other. But this does not mean that we should abandon the technology itself”. He also stressed how important the safety culture in different countries, and called Sweden “a role model” in this area. While the situation in Russia in Soviet times was a Prime example of a “bad safety culture” that all were able to see in the TV series “Chernobyl”, the article says.

“You can’t try to hide mistakes and problems. Worldwide, the situation in the security field is different. But frankly, now in the nuclear industry the most understand Russia, China and Korea,” admits the expert. He also reminded about the danger of “cultural conflicts” and risk various “systemic problems” and difficulties that often arise when a country build a nuclear power plant foreign companies, writes Expressen.

Nuclear power plant “Hanhikivi-1” must be located in the coastal municipality of Pyhäjoki, on the Finnish side of the Gulf of Butterwick (Northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia), only 150 kilometres from the Swedish skellefteå. According to the information of the enterprises which are engaged in this project, NPP will be able to cover about 10% of the energy needs of Finland. The fundamental decision on the issuance of a building permit was adopted in 2010. However, after the reorganization it was found that during all phases of construction, from design to maintenance, will answer “the RAPR Project” (a subsidiary of state concern “Rosatom”), in connection with which the decision had to make it again, explained in the article. Issues were also caused by the intention to use a new type of reactor.

Although work on the Hanhikivi headland in Pyhäjoki has already begun (there are paving roads and erecting infrastructure), Finland has not yet issued a permit for the construction of the reactor for nuclear power plants, according to Expressen. The radiation and nuclear safety authority of Finland explained that to date, gave them “a fraction of the materials” proving that the plant will be safe, but the final decision on the construction of the reactor will be made no earlier than 2021.

In the company Fennovoima, which is building a nuclear power plant, told journalists at Expressen, that by that time, according to the manual, “all set.” Until the end of the year, the company intends to give to the authorities information on the preliminary safety assessment, and by the end of 2020, all the data will already be in the hands of the radiation and nuclear safety authority of Finland. In 2028 nuclear power plant will begin to produce electricity, predicts a press-the Secretary of the company Fennovoima Sakari of Kotala: “we are Now at the stage of preparatory design. Simultaneously with the work on the documentation we are preparing to the construction. For us it is very important that the design meets all the requirements.”

This Kotola difficult to answer why they are protesting against plans to build nuclear power plants in neighbouring Finland. “We find it difficult to answer this question, because the Finnish public relates to nuclear energy is much more positive. In Pyhäjoki, we are supported by 73 percent of the population. Across the country, 49 percent of Finns support nuclear energy, while only 15 percent opposed, according to the study “Finnish energy”, which was released earlier this year”, — said the press-Secretary of Fennovoima. According to him, in Finland, believe that nuclear energy does not harm the environment: “Finns support nuclear energy because it is not harmful to the nature and helps us to combat climate change. We need to get more electricity using less fossil fuel.”

However, the Swedish activist Segerstam believes that it is not “the whole truth”. She said that residents of the Finnish community Pyhäjoki also created his own organization, which previously fought against nuclear energy. And in 2016, activists even attacked the construction site in Pyhäjoki, as reported by local media. However, now they have no more strength, stresses Segerstam: “Fennovoima cleared the bottom of the sea, cut down the forest on the Cape and forced the inhabitants to sell their houses. The construction will be spent 500 million euros, and now the area looks like an industrial area. The construction started many conflicts. Locals simply no longer able to fight.”

Swedish non-profit organization “Bottenwil without nuclear energy” fighting against nuclear power plants “Hanhikivi-1” for eight years, the article says. The members of the organization arrange meetings, collect signatures and try to influence the Swedish and Finnish politicians to stop building nuclear power plant. According to them, 21 local municipality had protested against the building. In may they had arrived in Helsinki with an international group of representatives of Russian, Belarusian, German, Belgian, Swedish and Finnish organizations dealing with atomic energy, told Segerstam in an interview with Expressen. Finnish authorities have transferred 35 thousand signatures against the construction of nuclear power plants, as well as “an International petition against nuclear policy of Finland”, which was signed by 170 organizations from 79 countries.

Organization “Bottenwil without nuclear energy” was also discussed with the Finnish radiation and nuclear safety authority climate change, which, in the opinion of its members, affect the situation in the field of security. “Assessing the risks, the company does not account for the possibility of more heavy rainfall and extreme weather,” — emphasizes Segerstam. She believes that the current safety assessment is not enough: “it seems to Me a very unpleasant their proposal to build a pool for temporary storage of spent nuclear fuel on the banks on the edge of the low headland, where it will lie still for a hundred years.”

Now Segerstam and other members of the organization “Bottenwil without nuclear energy” to browse the responses received from the Finnish radiation and nuclear safety authority, which must approve such safety assessment. But in the end, despite all protests, the decision on the fate of Bottenviken and a nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki should be taken by the government of Finland, concludes Expressen.

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