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The reviewed project will be considered in the government in August to be then referred to the parliament as Russian Rosatom state nuclear energy corporation that has recently joined the project was not mentioned in the first permit for construction issued several years ago.
The new permit was necessary because the project had changed considerably, said Lehtomaki, who also supported the project at the time of being the environment minister.
Forecasting good chances for approval, she mentioned the problem of The Greens, part of the ruling coalition, opposing the project and threatening to leave the parliament if the decision is positive. There was a probability of the issue not being passed to the parliament as departure of The Greens would considerably weaken the government, though this was only one of the options, she added. Therefore, the project might not reach the parliament before the 2015 election.
The project, the politician added, might also face protest in the Left Alliance, which was no more part of the government, whereas most of the Lehtomaki’s Centre Party’s faction in opposition would back the construction. This was a personal issue for each deputy, and those who opposed use of nuclear energy would do irrespective of who builds the plant, Lehtomaki said.
Rosatom subsidiary Rusatom Overseas and Finland’s third nuclear power company Fennovoima signed the contract late last December. The latter obtained a licence as early as summer 2010 and expects the government would agree that the revised project was also in the society’s interests.
Rusatom Overseas is expected to supply a 1,200 MW reactor. Construction will not start until 2015. According to Finnish media, the plant will cost 6.5 billion euros, with 1.6 billion to be paid by Fennovoima.