Finland wants to purchase more nuclear power from Kola

Publish date: September 6, 1998

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

Finland and Russia have recently discussed the possibility to import more nuclear power from the Kola Peninsula. The Kola Electricity Company Kolenergo is ready to export 1,5 - 2 Twh (terrawatt hours) to the grid in Finland.

The Finnish company PVO-Group is negotiating energy deliveries from Russia to Finland with the Russian nuclear energy company Rosenergoatom and the local electricity company Kolenergo. At a conference in Murmansk late this summer, the Finnish side agreed to continue the discussion on a possible import of as much as 2 TWh from the Kola grid to Finland. The discussions also included the needed construction of a new supply line from the Kola Peninsula to the northern part of Finland. A French firm has promised to participate in the investment in the project and in the construction of the new supply line. This October, there will be a new meeting with the goal of creating a feasibility study of the project and the elaboration of the technical target.

The use of electric power at the Kola Peninsula has fallen by 30 percent compared with the late 1980s. And due to the present crises in the mining and nickel-industry at the Kola Peninsula, the electricity consumption might fall even further. Kolenergo is able to produce electricity much above the present level, and Finland is believed to be a stable customer for the electricity. Maybe more important for the Russian side, Finland is a customer which can pay for the electricity in hard currency.

Kola Nuclear Power Plant produces about 50 percent of the Kola Peninsula’s total electricity needs. If Finland goes ahead with the plans to purchase more electricity from Kola, this might tip the balance in the debate over whether to continue to operate the two oldest VVER-440/230 reactors. With a service life of 30 years, they should be decommissioned in 2003 and 2004. But last December, the government approved a service-life extension for the two reactors for 5 – 7 years beyond 2004.

The two newest reactors at Kola NPP were repaired this summer. Reactor 4 was put back on the grid in late August after new fuel elements were loaded, while reactors 3 is still under repair.

Finland also purchases nuclear power from the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, located across the Gulf of Finland from Helsinki.