Finnish nuclear client claims €2.4bn damages for delayed reactor, energy companies have two months to nominate UK sites, €1.25bn EU funding awarded to develop carbon capture

The success of the UK’s nuclear build programme looks uncertain if progress in Finland is anything to go by. A three-year delay to construction of the Olkililuoto reactor, Europe’s first new reactor, has forced Finnish nuclear company EVO to claim €2.4bn in damages from French nuclear power specialist Areva and Siemens, which is delivering the Olkiluoto turbine hall. The reactor is now due for completion in 2012, three years behind schedule, reports Building on its website.

Areva, which is constructing the Finnish reactor, is one of two energy firms planning to build reactors in the UK. In December, it announced a partnership with Balfour Beatty to bid for nuclear construction projects in the UK and beyond. The partnership has now launched a website soliciting interest from potential suppliers.

The news came as the UK government said it would give energy firms two months to nominate sites for the next wave of nuclear power stations.

The March 31 deadline for suggested locations was published alongside criteria for site selection, which suggest that only sites for existing facilities will make the grade, reports Building on its website.

Once locations have been submitted, the public and local authorities will be able to comment, before the sites go through a round of government assessment. From 2010 developers will be able to apply for planning permission on sites given the green light.

In a drive to make existing coal and gas-fired UK power plants more sustainable, the European Commission has handed over €250m to four plants to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) capability.

The funding, which forms part of a €1.25bn pot for facilities across Europe, is for facilities at Kingsnorth in Kent (which is being targeted by anti-global warming activists) at Longannet in Fife, Tilbury in Essex and Hatfield in Yorkshire.

CCS involves burying carbon emissions deep underground or under rocks at sea, but is considered controversial because it has not been tested on a large scale. But the UK’s abundance of disused mine shafts are considered well suited for the technology.