Finland’s Minister for Economic Affairs Mika Lintila told the country’s parliament that he would not be granting a building permit for the Hanhikivi nuclear plant as things stand.

“It’s quite clear that as a consequence of this conflict this project will at least be significantly delayed,” Lintilä told the STT newswire on Thursday.

Fennovoima, the company behind the planned nuclear power plant which will have a Russian reactor and is one third owned by a Finnish subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom, said it “acknowledges that the ongoing conflict situation may have impacts on the Hanhikivi 1 project”.

It said the “Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the counter measures by EU and western countries as a consequence, pose a major risk for the Hanhikivi 1 project.

“We are very sad about the developments and the situation in Ukraine. There are a lot of people close to our employees in the area and our thoughts are with them.”

According to Finland’s STT news agency, Fennovoima is now waiting to hear what sanctions the EU will impose on Russia before speculating on the project’s future.

Last month licensing work for the Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant was said to have reached the “homestretch” with Fennovoima expecting to submit its final licensing materials to the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority by the end of February, with the goal of gaining a construction licence this year.

Fennovoima signed the plant supply contract for Hanhikivi with Rusatom Overseas – Rosatom’s nuclear power plant exports subsidiary – in December 2013. Rosatom offered to build a plant using a 1200 MWe AES-2006 VVER under a fixed-price contract. The Hanhikivi project is owned by Fennovoima, in which a 34% stake is held by RAOS Voima Oy, the Finnish subsidiary set up in 2014 by Rosatom for the purpose of buying a share in the company.

Fennovoima submitted its 250-page construction licence application to Finland’s Ministry of Employment and the Economy for the Hanhikivi plant in June 2015. The government’s decision to issue a construction licence would require a positive assessment of the application by STUK.

Sweden’s Vattenfall halts deliveries from Russia

The state-owned energy giant Vattenfall announced on Thursday that it was “deeply concerned by the serious security situation in Europe and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” and “we have therefore decided that no planned deliveries from Russia to our nuclear power plants will take place until further notice”.

It said it would not place any new orders from Russia for its nuclear power plants until further notice.

What about the situation in Ukraine?

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine’s update at 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Friday 25 February reported that there were “no violations of NPP safe operation limits and conditions. Radioactive situation meets established norms … NPP security divisions and physical protection services are on high alert”.

It also gave an update on the Chernobyl exclusion zone – near the Belarus border in the north of the country – which Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said was under Russian control, according to the TASS news agency. TASS quoted Konashenkov as saying NPP personnel continued to service the facilities and saying that “the radiation level in the area of the nuclear power plant did not exceed the natural background”.

The Ukraine nuclear regulator said that data from the automated radiation monitoring system of the Chernobyl exclusion zone indicated “control levels of gamma radiation dose rate in the exclusion zone were exceeded”. The reason for this, it said, appeared to be connected to the disturbance of the top layer of soil from the movement of heavy military machinery through the exclusion zone, increasing air pollution.

The condition of Chernobyl nuclear facilities  and other facilities was unchanged, it said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was following the situation in Ukraine “with grave concern” and was appealing for “maximum restraint to avoid any action that may put the country’s nuclear facilities at risk”.

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said the IAEA was closely monitoring developments in Ukraine with a special focus on the safety and security of its nuclear power plants and other nuclear-related facilities.

He stressed that the IAEA General Conference adopted a decision in 2009 that “any armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and the Statute of the Agency”.

In a statement released on Friday 25 February the IAEA said it assesses that the readings in the Chernobyl area “reported by the regulator – of up to 9,46 microSieverts per hour – were low and remained within the operational range measured in the Exclusion Zone since it was established, and therefore do not pose any danger to the public”.

Source: WNN

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