Finland’s prime minister Juha Sipilä has said the European Union (EU) should make sure it considers Finland’s concerns during its investigation into a proposed rescue package for state-owned (87%) French nuclear reactor maker Areva. He told the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, on 23 September, that it is important that any restructuring allows for completion of the delayed EPR construction project at unit 3 of the Olkiluoto NPP “as planned” by the end of 2018. Areva, which is building the reactor as part of a consortium with Siemens for Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), is negotiating a government-backed rescue package to raise €5bn ($5.6bn) in the markets. It is also selling a majority stake in its reactor making division Areva NP, valued at €2.5bn, to Electricite de France (EDF).
In July Brussels began a full investigation into the package, raising the possibility of stricter restructuring conditions being attached to public support for Areva. While such state support for restructuring can be permitted in certain circumstances, it usually has to meet EU conditions. It must contribute to “an objective common interest” while avoiding distorting competition in markets. TVO and Areva-Siemens have accused each other of causing the delays at Olkiluoto-3 and each side is seeking for billions of euros in compensation. Sipilä said he hopes that Areva’s rescue plan, currently being examined by both the French government and the European Commission, will take Finland’s views into account, although the government of Finland is not party to any of the negotiations.