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UPDATE 3-Owner of Finnish nuclear reactor may seek further compensation
November 14, 2017 / 3:04 PM / in 8 days

UPDATE 3-Owner of Finnish nuclear reactor may seek further compensation

(Adds no comment from Siemens)

HELSINKI, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Pohjolan Voima Oy (PVO), the largest shareholder in Finland’s long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor, could make additional compensation claims against suppliers Areva and Siemens following a recent setback, PVO said on Tuesday.

The start of regular power production at Olkiluoto 3 - Finland’s largest reactor - was last month postponed by another five months to May 2019.

“It (further compensation) has been briefly discussed (within PVO). I don’t want to enter further this topic as it is an issue for (reactor operator) Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) to decide,” PVO CEO Lauri Virkkunen, told Reuters.

The owners and supplier are locked in a dispute over the plant’s delays at the International Chamber of Commerce, where TVO is claiming 2.6 billion euros ($3.06 billion) from the Areva-led consortium, which has filed a counter-claim of 3.6 billion euros.

The final ruling is expected early next year, and TVO last year said it was optimistic following favourable partial awards.

PVO owns 58.5 percent of TVO, which will operate the reactor in western Finland. Fortum, the second-biggest owner, was not immediately available to comment.

“What I can say at this stage for Pohjolan Voima is that we are very disappointed with this development,” said Virkkunen, who is also the chairman of TVO.

France’s Areva has a 73 percent stake in the consortium supplying the reactor, while Germany’s Siemens holds 27 percent.

Siemens declined to comment. Areva could not immediately be reached for comment.

BLACKOUT WORRIES

Completion of Olkiluoto 3 is being closely watched in Finland, which aims to become more self-sufficient in energy and rely less on imports from neighbouring Sweden and Russia.

The new reactor, Finland’s fifth, is expected to provide about 10 percent of the Nordic country’s power needs.

Talking on the sidelines of an energy conference, PVO’s Virkkunen said Finland faced an increasing risk of power shortages as combined power and heat power plants are closing and Olkiluoto 3 commercial operations are delayed.

“I think there is a real risk as lack of power is increasing. In Finland companies have been closing the base load power plants, which means there is less and less baseline capacity in the country.”

Ship and power plant engine maker Wartsila’s CEO Jaakko Eskola, speaking at the same conference, said that the cost of a national blackout could go up to 100 million euros per hour.

“On a cold January day, there is more than a 20 percent need for electricity imports. If import technology works and the neighbours have the capacity, it’s OK, but there is s real risk for a power outage because of the technical side. The risk for such a power outage could be here already from 2018,” Virkkunen added. ($1 = 0.8510 euros) (Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos, writing by Jussi Rosendahl and Tuomas Forsell, editing by Terje Solsvik, Jane Merriman and Adrian Croft)

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