After a long and detailed look at all of the available alternatives, Finland decided a couple of years ago to begin building their fifth nuclear power plant. That is not news, but some of you might be interested in finding out how the project is going and how it is being received.
In an article posted on the News-Telegraph site under the title Finns give nuclear plant a positive reaction Kate Connolly describes how the locals in the Eurajoki area have responded to the construction project.
In a word – they welcome it with enthusiasm. The area is already home to two nuclear power plants that have been operating for a number of years; almost everyone in the area either works at the plant or knows someone that does. They appear to be comfortable with the technology and proud of the role that they play in Finland’s economy.
With their extremely cold climate and lack of daylight for long portions of the year, Finns are more dependent than most people on cheap energy to enable their economic competitiveness. According to Globalis, a site that provides statistics on human impact, Finland ranked number 20 in the world in per capita energy use in 2001, using the energy equivalent of 5076 kilograms of oil each year. Here is a quote that clearly states the outcome of the decision process.
“What else should we do?” asked Martin Landtmann, the project manager of TVO, the electricity conglomerate that operates the reactors. “We don’t want to extract more coal, we don’t want to import more gas from Russia, wind power is unreliable and we need cheap energy to be able to compete.
“So Finland has gone for the nuclear solution and as a result everyone is looking at Finland. All countries face more or less the same challenge – where they should get their energy from.”
Mr Landtmann responded to arguments that Finland was ignoring alternative energy sources by saying that 6,000 wind turbines would be needed along a 1,400-mile coastline to produce the same amount of power as OK3.
In Europe, only Norway, Luxembourg, and Belgium used more energy per person.
The often criticized Americans consumed the equivalent of 7798 kilograms of oil per person per year and ranked 10th on the world scale, right behind Canada at 9th (8012) and behind much smaller countries like Qatar (29766), Bahrain (13973), United Arab Emirates (13456), and Kuwait (9040).
Having spent some time in the Gulf region in the summertime, it does not surprise me at all to see extremely per capita energy use in countries that have plenty of oil and gas for air conditioning. It is fracking hot there!