Fortum May Buy Part of Nuclear Plant After Russian Restructuring

Fortum Oyj may buy a stake in a Finnish greenfield nuclear-power plant after agreeing on restructuring holdings in a Russian joint venture.

Finland’s biggest utility said today it may buy as much as 15 percent of the Fennovoima project, according to a statement. That would follow a successful restructuring of the ownership of TGC-1, a Territorial Generating Company in Russia. The plan entails Fortum establishing a joint venture with Rosatom to own TGC-1’s hydro assets, while Gazprom Energoholding will hold the heat and thermal power businesses, it said.

Finland denied Fortum a permit for a new reactor four years ago, when the company had sought to replace two aging generators on the south coast. Fennovoima this year applied for a new permit after changing its reactor supplier to OAO Rosatom Corp. and reducing its size. The parliament will debate that decision-in-principle tomorrow before voting on it on Dec. 5.

“While Fortum’s participation and competencies are extremely valuable for the project, it will also provide Fortum with possibilities to grow in the area of nuclear expert services,” Chief Executive Officer Tapio Kuula said in the statement.

The government has said it will require at least 60 percent domestic ownership to consider a building permit for the plant next year. Finland has also called for more nuclear know-how for the venture after E.ON SE quit the project in 2013.

“Fortum’s decision means Fennovoima clearly fulfills the 60 percent domestic ownership requirement,” Economy Minister Jan Vapaavuori said in a statement.

Russia’s state-owned atomic-power company Rosatom holds a 34 percent stake in Fennovoima. Voimaosakeyhtio SF, the consortium that holds 66 percent of Fennovoima shares, said last week the project had 55.5 percent reserved for its shareholders, most of whom are local energy companies in Finland.

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