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[cdn-nucl-l] Russian company plans massive marketing campaign to sell nuclear power plant to Finland
Finnish agency "Helsingin Sanomat" informed
The Russian Atomstroyexport is planning a massive marketing campaign aimed
at selling a nuclear power to Finland. The company hopes to persuade both
the Finnish public and nuclear experts that Russia should supply Finland
with its fifth commercial nuclear reactor.
The campaign includes a web site aimed at convincing the Finnish people
that Russian nuclear power is a safe and cost-effective option.
The company hopes to enlist a number of experienced Finnish experts in
the energy field, including Jaakko Ihamuotila, the former director-general
of the oil company Neste.
The Russians also hope to use Finland as a springboard for the marketing
of its nuclear technology in other Western countries - either for
refurbishment of ageing plants, or the construction of new ones.
The Finnish power company TVO is to choose the supplier of the fifth nuclear
reactor by the end of this year.
The deadline for the bids was the end of March. In addition to
Atomstroyexport, France's Framatome and the American company General
Electric have submitted bids for the contract. Another US company,
Westinghouse, was expected to join the fray, but unexpectedly decided not to
submit a bid.
The Russians' main problem is the poor reputation that the country's
nuclear industry still has in the West. Although international assessments
have long given a green light to Russian expertise, the industry has not
managed to make significant inroads in Western projects.
Finland is the exception in this. Both reactors of the Loviisa nuclear
power plant on Finland's south coast came from the Soviet Union, and the
whole project was carried out together with Finnish builders and planners.
The construction of the Loviisa plant took place in the 1970s, at a time
when political considerations played an important role in the
decision-making. To strike a geopolitical balance, Finland's other two
commercial reactors, in Olkiluoto on the west coast, were built mainly using
This time, TVO has made it clear to Russian politicians that with
Finland in the European Union, political considerations are no longer
However, as Finland has had experience with nuclear energy of Russian
origin, Atomstroyexport is confident that it has a chance in the
Atomstroyexport recently set up a Finnish subsidiary called Oivavoima
Oy, whose managing director Jari Anttila is an engineer who used to work for
Fortum Engineering, a subsidiary of the Finnish Fortum energy group.
Anttila is now busy setting up an office in Helsinki aimed at
establishing a network of partners and subcontractors capable of building a
nuclear power plant. Anttila adds that if Atomstroyexport gets the contract,
it would bring significant work for Finnish engineers and subcontractors.
"No matter what the decision, we hope that the network that comes about
could be utilised in nuclear projects elsewhere", Anttila says.
Although the final decision will be made within a small circle,
Atomstroyexport is planning an extensive public relations campaign aimed at
the Finnish public at large.
The company's Helsinki office is to be ceremoniously opened on April 26,
which happens to be the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. On
that day the company will launch its Finnish-language web site aimed at
convincing the Finnish public that Russian nuclear energy is safe.