Finnish Fortum mulls small nuclear reactors

Finnish utility Fortum said Monday it will study the possibility of building new nuclear reactors, including small modular reactors, after the company suffered heavy losses due to Russian gas cuts.

“The assessment focuses on the Finnish and Swedish markets,” the company said in a statement.

The two-year assessment will “identify the commercial, technological and societal requirements” for both small modular reactors and conventional large reactors.

Looking to “renew its strategy focusing on sustainable electricity”, the move comes after Fortum booked heavy losses from Russian gas cuts through its majority shares in German energy giant Uniper.

Fortum built Finland’s first nuclear power plant in Loviisa on the country’s southern coast in 1977.

In September, full power tests began at the Nordic country’s fifth nuclear reactor, in Olkiluoto, after the problem-dogged unit had been delayed for over a decade.

“The challenges of implementing nuclear power are well known,” Laurent Leveugle from Fortum said in a statement.

Sweden’s future government also announced plans on Friday to build new nuclear reactors to meet the country’s rising electricity needs.

In June, Swedish energy group Vattenfall said it was examining the possibility of building at least two small modular nuclear reactors.

In recent years, support for nuclear energy has grown in Finland, spurred by concern over climate change.

A May poll by trade association Finnish Energy showed 60 percent of Finns supported nuclear power, a record high.

But after Finnish group Fennovoima in May terminated a nuclear power project with Russia’s Rosatom, citing risks linked to the war in Ukraine, there have been no other nuclear reactor projects in the pipeline.

Agence France-Presse

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