Poll: Finns favor fission at record level

May 24, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Finnish public’s support for nuclear power is at an all-time high, according to a recent opinion poll conducted by Kantar Public, a London-based consulting and research firm.

Commissioned by Finnish Energy—the trade association for Finland’s energy sector—the poll finds that 60 percent of respondents have either a “fully positive” or “mainly positive” perception of nuclear power as an energy source (34 percent and 26 percent, respectively), up from 49 percent in a 2021 Kantar poll.

In addition, 62 percent of those polled this year say they “fully accept” or “mainly accept” nuclear power as a means of combating climate change, a solid jump from last year’s 51 percent.

Only 11 percent of Finns surveyed hold “fully negative” or “mainly negative” views toward nuclear, down from last year’s 16 percent.

What they’re saying: “It is great news that nuclear power has such strong support in Finland,” states Annina Alasaari, senior advisor in nuclear power at Finnish Energy, in a May 16 news release. “Nuclear power covers a high percentage of Finland’s electricity production, which supports our energy independency and enables quitting imports of Russian energy. Nuclear power offers predictable, stable, and carbon-free energy. Climate concerns have long been one of the key drivers behind the popularity of nuclear power.”

The release also notes that the commercial start of the Olkiluoto nuclear plant’s Unit 3 reactor (now expected in September rather than the previously announced July) “will further reduce the emissions of Finland’s electricity production. Last year, the share of clean electricity, meaning electricity from renewable and nuclear sources, was 87 percent of Finland’s electricity production and is expected to rise to over 90 percent next year. New nuclear generation will also increase the amount of domestic electricity production and security of supply.”

In case you missed it: In March, Fortum Power and Heat Oy submitted an application to Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment to operate the two reactors at the Loviisa nuclear plant through 2050. The current operating licenses for Loviisa-1 and -2 expire in 2027 and 2030, respectively.

And earlier this month, Finnish energy company Fennovoima terminated its engineering, procurement, and construction contract with RAOS Project Oy, a subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom, for the delivery of a 1,200-MWe VVER-1200 pressurized water reactor at the Hanhikivi site in Finland’s Pyhäjoki municipality. In a May 2 press release, Fennovoima cited “significant and growing delays during the last years,” adding that the ongoing war in Ukraine and the resulting international sanctions against Russia had exacerbated project risks.

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