HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland should decide on building two more nuclear reactors by 2011, Finnish Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen said on Thursday, opening door for more nuclear construction in the Nordic country.
Katainen's proposal comes when construction of Finland's fifth reactor, a rarity in largely nuclear-skeptical western Europe, is under increasingly heavy criticism from environmental groups who say safety requirements are not met at the site.
Construction firms, Areva and Bouygues, and Finnish radiation authority STUK, who monitor the project, have rebuffed the claims.
The progress of the Olkiluoto site, which has faced a two-year delay, is being closely watched by older EU member states, wary of piling back into new nuclear projects.
Fortum, Teollisuuden Voima and a consortium lead by E.ON are looking to build in total three more nuclear reactors in Finland, but so far leading politicians have said at best one of them could approved during current cabinet's term which runs until 2011.
"The key is to be self-sufficient in energy," Katainen told national broadcaster YLE. "I do not love nuclear, or any other source of energy, but for me it is important that emissions are as low as possible."
[Read the rest over at Reuters]