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German energy group interested in building Finnish nuclear reactor

German energy group E.ON was Tuesday reported to be interested in building a nuclear reactor in Finland that could bring the total number of reactors in the country to seven in future.

Finnish news agency STT quoted officials in the city of Loviisa, east of the capital Helsinki, as saying that E.ON was interested in buying land near the site of two reactors currently operating. The Nordic country operates a total of four nuclear reactors while construction on a fifth reactor began in 2005, expected to be online by 2011. Construction of the 1,600-megawatt plant, costing €3 billion ($3.7 billion), has been delayed several times. Finland's four existing reactors produce more than a quarter of the Nordic country's electricity.

As recently as the end of March, two Finnish energy groups said they were interested in building a sixth nuclear reactor and were looking into two different locations. No political decisions have been made on building a sixth reactor, but environmental impact assessments were to be launched before formal applications could be considered. One group, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), was interested in Olkiluoto, south-western Finland, where two other reactors are operating and construction on a fifth reactor is underway. The other group, Fortum, was eyeing Loviisa.

The E.ON plans were announced just as Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen's new four-party coalition was slated to take office later this week. In addition to Vanhanen's Centre Party, the coalition includes the conservative National Coalition Party, the minority Swedish People's Party and the Green Party. (,