Finland seeks details on nuclear safety checks

Thursday, August 21, 2008

HELSINKI (Thomson Financial) - The Finnish government said Thursday it wanted the country's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) to clarify its inspection principles, following criticism of its work at a nuclear reactor building site.

'The (economy) ministry wants further reports from STUK on its inspection principles and precision, and how these compare to practices in other countries,' the Finnish employment and economy ministry, in charge of energy industry issues, said in a statement.

It added it also wanted to know STUK's policy on publishing its inspection results.

STUK said Wednesday in a report submitted to the ministry that it had found no evidence welding work was substandard at a nuclear reactor under construction at

the Olkiluoto plant in southwestern Finland and said it had inspected all welds important to safety.

Greenpeace has criticised STUK's supervision of welding work at Olkiluoto and last week demanded an immediate halt to construction based on confidential documents it had obtained showing safety procedures were not being respected.

It also said it wanted an independent inspection to be carried out at the building site.

A consortium led by French group Areva is building the world's first next-generation pressurised water reactor at the Olkiluoto plant, which will be Finland's fifth nuclear reactor, for energy group Teollisuuden Voima (TVO).

Areva's main subcontractor is French building firm Bouygues Construction.

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