Nuclear Energy in Finland (30.06.2023)

• Olkiluoto-3, Europe's first European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR), was connected to the grid after a considerable delay.

• Until Olkiluoto-3 went on the grid on 15 April 2023, four reactors had produced a good third of the electricity generated in Finland. Olkiluoto-3 now covers an additional 14 percent of Finland's electricity demand.

• The application for a construction licence to build another NPP by the Russian state-owned company ROSATOM at the new Hanhikivi site was withdrawn in May 2022


Status quo of power generation

Up until the start of Olkiluoto-3, there were four reactors that contribute about one third of the Finland’s electricity generation. These were two V-213 VVER-440s at the Loviisa site and two Swedish-designed boiling water reactors (ABB-BWRs). The two VVER-440s are operated by Fortum Corporation, the two ABB-BWRs by Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO).

Anzahl und Durchschnittsalter der finnischen Kernkraftwerke und Strommix Finnlands in 2022
Anzahl und Durchschnittsalter der finnischen Kernkraftwerke und Strommix Finnlands in 2022

The gas embargo imposed as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the halt to Russian electricity imports are to be cushioned by the operation of the third reactor unit at the Olkiluoto site (OL3).


Political and legal framework

Finland plans to become climate neutral by 2035. After that, the aim is to achieve a negative CO2 balance (i.e. more greenhouse gas is to be saved than emitted). To achieve this, emissions are to be reduced and CO2 storage facilities are to be built and used.

In the past, the Finnish government approved both new-build projects and the long-term operation of the existing four reactor units. Since 2002, parliament has endorsed the construction of new reactors in three landmark decisions (one remained unused).

At the Nordic Nuclear Forum conference in Helsinki (June 2022) it was mentioned that existing reactors must continue to operate and the construction of new reactors must be considered in order to achieve Finland's goal of being CO2-neutral by 2035. It is therefore planned to extend the lifetime of the two VVER-440 units at Loviisa to 70 years (2047 and 2050, respectively).

The Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour announced in December 2021 a reform of the Nuclear Energy Act for 2028. The aim is, on the one hand, to create a regulatory framework for innovations in nuclear energy production - especially with regard to modular small-scale reactors (SMRs) for heat and power generation - and, on the other hand, to specify the associated rights and obligations.

Current plans and projects

Large NPPs. With a long delay and many times the originally calculated costs, the first EPR in Europe started commercial operation at the Olkiluoto site in April 2023 - the original target date for commissioning had been 2009.


Map of Finland
Karte Finnland

The Fennovoima consortium planned to build the Hanhikivi NPP in Pyhäjoki municipality (about 500 km north of Helsinki) with a Russian VVER-1200 (AES-2006). However, Fennovoima has terminated the plant supply contract concluded with RAOS Voima Oy, a subsidiary of the Russian company ROSATOM, and the application for a construction licence for the Hanhikivi-1 plant, submitted on 24 May 2022, has been withdrawn. The possibility of building another NPP at the Hanhikivi site is currently being examined.

SMR. The Finnish utility Fortum launched a two-year feasibility study in October this year to investigate the conditions for new nuclear build in Finland and Sweden. The study will consider both SMRs and conventional large reactors.

The state research institute VTT, too, is working on SMRs. For example, it coordinates the ELSMOR project for European SMR licensing procedures and EcoSMR Ecosystem and conducts feasibility studies for SMR technology.

Since mid-2022, the Finnish regulator STUK has been working together with authorities from France (ASN) and the Czech Republic (SUJB) on a preliminary review of the main safety options of the NUWARD SMR.

First HAW repository worldwide

In the immediate vicinity of the Olkiluoto NPP, a repository for high-level radioactive waste (HAW) is nearing completion. Trial operation is scheduled to start in 2023, with regular emplacement of spent fuel from the Finnish NPPs starting in 2025.