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Finland's... I told you!!!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-08-18 09:07:00
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There is one phrase I hate and try to avoid, the phrase is: I told you. Any time anybody is using it means bad news… well, most of the time very bad news. There is another factor that makes this phrase even worse, usually you use it to love ones, otherwise there would be no reason for the first warning, would there?

Finland has heard all the warnings for a long time now and, oddly, perhaps 'stupidly' is a better word, as it might sound, the present Finnish prime minister Matti Vanhanen, when he was just an MP, gave some of these warnings and the Finnish Green Party as a Green Party should have at its foundations that they will oppose any nuclear plant in any country. So who’s to say… I told you and to whom?

Well, both need it. Matti Vanhanen and the Green Party joined forces in the name of getting a ministerial seat and both joyfully signed and lobbied the building of more and more nuclear plants in Finland. Apparently Finland is going to be the first European country to build a nuclear plant in the 21st century; this after most of the European countries have decided to stop nuclear power and start researching and testing for alternative power and energy sources.

But what is really going on with the new nuclear plant Olkiluoto remains a mystery, just like the money spent on it, the loans, the delays and the works to be done; in simple words, Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear plant is the perfect example of all that can go wrong in economic terms. It demonstrates the problems of construction delays, cost overruns and hidden subsidies, but what is worse? Safety rules are being bent to save time and money because the cost has already gone mountain high. Do you want it even simpler? People in Finland might be screwed for good, even endangering their lives!

Do you want more? Well here it comes, it’s massively behind schedule.  Construction that was supposed to take four years will now take at least six. It's massively over budget.  The original cost estimate was 2.5 billion Euros.  Now it's expected to top 4 billion Euros. The project was supposed to require no public subsidies, in a case you didn’t read it well let’s try again with bold letter, the project was supposed to require no public subsidies. In reality it is reliant on an export guarantee financed by French taxpayers and a dirt-cheap loan from public banks. And it does get worst, the original quality requirements weren't being met - so they were relaxed.  The consequences of a faulty reactor being put into service could be disastrous.

On top of that, Finland has not found yet a satisfactory solution for the already working nuclear plants and their nuclear waste and the truth is that nuclear power is a nightmare of problems without end! Nuclear is a costly and dangerous distraction from real solutions to climate change like saving energy and renewable energy.  In Finland, for example, energy consumption by new buildings can be cut by more than 70 percent and Finns have proved in many cases that if they want to succeed in something then they can do it.

The company responsible for the new and old reactors, Teollisuuden Voima Oy, should publish all 1,000+ quality problems, and repay the state aid it has received for the reactors plus and please remember that because here we are talking about the country that is proud to find herself on top of the list of the less corrupt countries internationally, the state should report all the money, loans and funds involved for the project!

I’m angry, of course I’m angry, because I hate saying … I told you, especially when innocent lives are going to pay the cost. Can you hear Mr. Vanhanen or part of the P.M.’s job description is to be also deaf? Regarding the Green Party… no comment. I just hope they will never see the parliament door again and people understand what a big joke they are!!! Thanks to Green Peace Finland at least the dignity of the people who care about the environment in this country might have been saved the rest just …recycle their consciousness!!!

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