Finland: Statement of the MEAE on the EIA programme for the future of the Loviisa nuclear power plants

NordenBladet — On 13 August 2020, Fortum submitted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) programme to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. It started a procedure, which will assess the environmental impact of continuing, or alternatively closing, the operation of the Loviisa nuclear power plant as well as the impact of the options for the final disposal facility of low and intermediate-level waste. As the coordinating authority, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment issued a statement on the programme on 26 November 2020.

Two primary alternatives will be assessed in Fortum’s EIA programme: continuing the use of both units until about 2050 or decommissioning the nuclear power plant after the expiration of the current licences in 2027 and 2030.In its statement, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment states that the EIA programme prepared by Fortum covers the content requirements laid down in Section 3 of the EIA Decree and, in terms of its extent and detail, is an adequate plan for assessing the environmental impact of the project, provided that the issues presented in the Ministry’s statement are taken into account as the project progresses and at a later stage of the EIA procedure.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment requests in its statement that the assessment provide further details on the management of the ageing of the plant and take into consideration climate change and cooling in the assessment. The Ministry also requests that the assessment on nuclear waste management describe the prevention and consequences of accidents.

Public consultation concerning the EIA programme was organised between 26 August and 26 October 2020. The public event, as required by the EIA Decree, was held in Loviisa on 3 September 2020. A total of 39 statements and opinions were submitted to the Ministry during the national consultation.

According to the statements, the EIA programme was mainly considered comprehensive. However, the respondents made some individual comments, which should be taken into account and assessed in the EIA procedure. In particular, the respondents commented on the accident modelling and the nuclear power plant’s impact on waters. In addition, the statements and opinions also included other questions, comments and considerations that should be taken into account by the body responsible for the project.

Due to the potential for transboundary effects in the event of a nuclear accident, an international consultation on the programme was also organised in accordance with the Espoo Convention. The coordinating authority for the international hearings is the Ministry of the Environment.

During the hearings organised in accordance with the Espoo Convention, Sweden, Estonia, Russia, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania, Germany and Austria announced their participation in the EIA procedure. A total of 20 statements were received from EU citizens and organisations. The international hearings focused on the risks of a serious nuclear accident and its consequences.

The statements and opinions are available on the website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

The EIA procedure will continue with an assessment on environmental impacts and an EIA report on them. According to the preliminary estimate, Fortum would submit the report to the Ministry in autumn 2021. The evaluation report would then be available in September-October. The coordinating authority would release its informed conclusion in December 2021. After that, the EIA report would be attached to the application for an operating or decommissioning permit concerning the future of the power plant.


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