The news is that the Finnish ‘Green League’, the governing party led by Maria Ohisalo, is the first environmentalist formation in the world to support nuclear energy. Within the party, Ville Seppälä is the leader that has always advocated nuclear energy. Forty years ago, the fight against the atom was the driving force behind European environmentalism: can you be a Green and an advocate of nuclear energy at the same time, today? It has been a gradual evolution. If older people became green to protect nature and to fight against the atom, young people today are green out of fear of climate change, and from this point of view no energy source is as effective as nuclear energy: if the climate-altering impact of hard coal is 100, the impact of gas is calculated at 59, solar at 5.8 and nuclear at 1.4. The Finnish Green League has abandoned its opposition to nuclear power: in its manifesto for the years 2023-2027 it states that the party is committed to “ensuring that nuclear energy remains a safe part of the more general approach to energy sustainability”. The party’s manifesto proudly claims the seriousness and fairness that guide every political choice, so the Greens are in favour of “expanding the currently existing reactors if the Nuclear Safety Agency deems them suitable”. Before science, the Finns trust their institutions. In Finland, a power plant has just been completed that will increase nuclear power’s contribution to the national energy consumption from 30 to 50%, but the shadow of the apocalypse is no longer frightening: it has been calculated that the mortality rate (for accidents and pollution) for coal is 32 per terawatt-hour, for oil it is 18, for hydro 0.024, and for nuclear only 0.01. Seventy years after the first nuclear power plant went online, the waste problem has perhaps found a suitable solution: in three years’ time, in the municipality of Eurajoki, 250 kilometres from Helsinki, the world’s first permanent nuclear waste repository will come into operation, equipped to accommodate spent rods until 2120. The green turn on nuclear power could only come about in Finland?
Economics, Energy, Finland, Helsinki, Oil & Gas, Science, Technology