Today the Finnish government accepted the construction of the country’s sixth nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki, where the biggest single owner is going to be Russian Rosatom (Federal Agency on Atomic Energy). Rosatom will also provide the nuclear reactor that is planned to be run with nuclear fuel originating from Russia. As a consequence of this relatively tight decision with 10 to 7 votes, the Finnish Green League, led by the Minister of the Environment Ville Niinistö has left the government today.
The nuclear power plant project suffered a heavy setback, when German electric utility company E.ON backed out of the project in 2013 considering it as too risky. Rosatom’s participation in this project has been criticized in Finnish media, especially in 2014 during the ongoing Ukraine-crisis where a growing dependency on Russia has been feared.
Putin’s strategic goal achieved
According to some sources the construction of the Pyhäjoki nuclear power plant will increase Finland’s dependency on Russia and also Russia’s influence on Finnish domestic affairs. These sources further state that considering the timing of the Finnish government’s decision, it will also undermine EU efforts to sanction the Russian energy sector thus splitting the EU member states in their common policy towards Russia. This is said to be a strategic goal, strived by Putin. As an aggravating factor comes that today the Members of the European Parliament also demanded to abort energy sector agreements with Russia – only shortly later the Finnish government decided to do the exact opposite by accepting the Russian built nuclear power plant.
According to media reports critics of Finnish government’s decision talk about a new era of Finlandization where Finland would be heavily influenced by Russia in its domestic affairs, only this time as an member of the European Union and the possibility to sabotage sanctions on Russia by the EU.