Industry unions support building new nuclear power plant

The government decided to grant the Finnish Fennovoima company permission to go ahead with a new minority shareholder partner after the German E.ON withdrew from the nuclear project. It was replaced by the Russian state owned Rosatom, who would like to build the new reactor in Pyhäjoki.

Due to this decision the Green Party pulled out of the coalition government on 18 September. The government held a cabinet vote on the issue with 10 voting in favour and 7 against. Some ministers from the Social Democratic Party and the Swedish People’s Party voted against permission.

The final decision will be made by parliament. There is also an option to granting a license to the Finnish TVO company. TVO had already applied for a license to build a fourth reactor in Olkiluoto.

The trade unions are giving their backing to both of the planned new reactors. They say that not giving the permission for the Olkiluoto 4 reactor to go ahead would endanger economic growth and emission reduction targets.

The unions say that not pursuing new nuclear energy options would lead to higher prices for electricity. “As we are logistically far away from the capital market, reasonably priced electricity is one of the few competition benefits for industrial jobs in Finland we can sustain”, the statement says.

The unions are also afraid that stopping the reactor permits would endanger Finland’s ability to cut CO2 emissions as planned. Finland would also become more dependent on energy imports, the unions believe.

Finland has a shortage of investment, the unions stress. In this situation it is totally irresponsible to stop a major project that would be financed by the private sector and would engage companies involved in continuing and expanding activities in Finland for decades, the unions say.

The statement was signed by the Trade Union Pro, the Metalworkers’ Union, the Paper Workers’ Union, the Electrical Workers’ Union, the Union of Professional Engineers in Finland, the Industrial Union TEAM and the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions SAK, among others. Several employers’ and industry associations endorsed the statement, too.

Helsinki (19.09.2014 – Heikki Jokinen)

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