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  • Check out Helsinki’s underground shadow city

    Itakeskus underground swimming complexPhoto: Lewis Martin From the country that brought you the world’s spookiest children’s series, please meet the underground city. Helsinki, Finland’s capital, has decided to defeat sprawl by building down instead of out. Incised into the city’s bedrock are a swimming pool, a shopping area, a church, a hockey rink, and a […]

  • How to bury nuclear waste for the next 100,000 years

    A scene from Into Eternity, a documentary that looks at Finland’s plans to store the country’s nuclear waste for 100,000 years. Yep … 100,000. Photo: PosivaThis piece was written by Lewis Beale. The first documentary that Netflix might slot into their science fiction category, director Michael Madsen’s Into Eternity, is an eerily fascinating look at […]

  • Grist profiled in Finnish paper — read all about it

    These editors have begun to slightly hack.Photo: Tom Clements/Vihrea Lanka Grist recently found itself the focus of a feature story in a Finnish newspaper under the headline “Tässä ei ole mitään hauskaa.” We were briefly flattered, as all those umlauts struck us as quite sophisticated, and we’re pretty much suckers for any outside attention. Until […]

  • Activists slam Finnish paper maker for logging ‘virgin forest’

    HELSINKI — Environmental groups on Thursday blasted Finnish paper maker Stora Enso for logging old growth forests in northern Finland, insisting the unique trees should be protected. Environmental groups Greenpeace, Suomen Luonnonsuojeluliitto and Luonto-Liitto said they had found that some trees more than 300 years old had been logged in Finnish Lapland in the north […]

  • Nuclear meltdown in Finland

    This is the radioactivity-free kind of meltdown, as Helsingin Sanomat reported:

    The Finnish nuclear power company Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) is seeking damages of EUR 2,400 million from the consortium of Areva and Siemens for delays in the construction of Finland's fifth nuclear reactor in Olkiluoto.

    Makes one look forward to what might happen if a truly litigous country had a major nuclear Renaissance fueled by, say, taxpayer money (see The nuclear bomb in the Senate stimulus plan).

    The Finnish newspaper has a great photo of "The Olkiluoto III nuclear reactor construction site in December 2008."

    Here are more details on the meltdown between the partners in this debacle:

  • Strict safety guidelines cause construction delays at nuclear plants in Finland and Taiwan

    nuclear-power.jpgBloomberg has a very long article on the troubles plaguing Finland's Olkiluoto-3, "the first nuclear plant ordered in Western Europe since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster."

    The plant has been delayed two years thanks to "flawed welds for the reactor's steel liner, unusable water-coolant pipes and suspect concrete in the foundation." It is also more than 25 percent over its 3 billion euro ($4 billion) budget. The article notes:

    If Finland's experience is any guide, the "nuclear renaissance" touted by the global atomic power industry as an economically viable alternative to coal and natural gas may not offer much progress from a generation ago, when schedule and budgetary overruns for new reactors cost investors billions of dollars.

    The U.K.'s Sizewell-B plant, which took nearly 15 years from the application to build it to completion, opened in 1995 and cost about 2.5 billion pounds ($5.1 billion), up from a 1987 estimate of 1.7 billion pounds.

    Nuclear power's costs balloon partly because plants must be built to more exacting safety standards and stand up to more stringent oversight, leading to lost time and extra expense.

    Indeed, the oversight is needed because so many plants have safety-related construction problems: