Finland's Fennovoima says may downsize reactor project

Monday, February 25, 2013

HELSINKI, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Finnish nuclear consortium Fennovoima said it was considering scaling back its planned nuclear reactor project in northern Finland after the exit of its top investor German utility E.ON.

It said it would choose Japan's Toshiba if it went ahead with original plans for a large, 1,600-megawatt reactor, dropping Areva who was previously another candidate.

Areva, Toshiba and Russia's Rosatom could be suppliers for a medium-sized reactor, Fennovoima said.

It said it aimed to choose the reactor supplier this year.

E.ON said in October it was exiting all operations in Finland to raise funds and cut debt, sparking doubts over plans for the Pyhajoki reactor which was estimated to cost 4-6 billion euros ($5.3-7.9 billion).

Fennovoima's other investors, which include around 60 Finnish companies, have said they would take on E.ON's stake of 34 percent. But analysts have said they would have a hard time managing the project without EON's nuclear expertise and financial strength.

The plant, the first site announced after the disaster in Fukushima, Japan, is aimed at providing cheap energy to its shareholders such as stainless steel maker Outokumpu, retailer Kesko and subsidiaries of Swedish metals firm Boliden.

Fennovoima said the shareholders still wanted the cheap energy, but they also wanted to "ensure the realization of the project."

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