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NNF24 Day 1 highlights

“Nordic Nuclear, sounds good. Seems like Nordic and Nuclear are meant for each other. The phrase Nordic Nuclear signals something important and urgent. It signals cooperation and a common interest for the best of our societies.” announced Carl Berglöf, National Nuclear Power Coordinator, Swedish Government in the beginning of day 1 at NNF24. The atmosphere during the first day in the exhibition area and conference hall was positive and optimistic towards the future of nuclear energy. The Day 1 conference sessions highlighted the positive future outlooks and the possibilities of the different sections of the industry. These were few to mention nuclear new builds and SMRs, renewal of Nuclear Energy Legislation in Finland, new nuclear feasibility studies, collaboration and better communication between actors, and integration of IT and AI to the nuclear industry. These of course while bearing in mind the nuclear safety and also the demands towards the decision makers in order for these prospects to be reality.

Here are some highlights of Day 1 conference:

  • The first words of the opening session were by Anne Vasara, Ambassador Circular Economy and Green Transition, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland. Vasara underlined the development in nuclear energy and its major role in the implementation of the Finnish climate and energy strategy. “Nuclear energy together with renewables is an answer to decarbonisation to our energy systems and our industry”. Vasara also gave us insight on the Finnish goals for national climate policy with the target of being carbon neutral by 2035, and further emission reductions by 2050. Despite the increase in renewables, over one-third of the electricity produced in Finland comes from nuclear energy.


  • Laurent Kueny, Energy Director, Ministry of Economics, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, France highlighted the importance to promote European Nuclear industry outside of Europe “Europe has a really original approach and we need to promote that. It’s good for Europe and it’s good for nuclear safety beyond Europe.”


  • Chris Barton, His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner to Europe, UK. shared the plans for the UK regarding their goals for carbon neutrality: “The UK is absolutely serious about our nuclear transformations.” In addition to this he highlighted the importance of collaboration and stated that all countries that have nuclear capabilities should learn from each other and share the expertise to make sure that the reactors reach the safety regulations.


  • “Without safety there is no future for the nuclear industry.” Petteri Tiippana, Director General, STUK gave a presentation about the future of the nuclear industry from a regulatory perspective mostly focusing on Finland, with some international context. Tiippana highlighted Finland’s policy on nuclear energy for climate goals, energy security, and competitiveness. The government supports new applications, financing solutions, and updating nuclear legislation. The focus is on enabling projects and SMRs. Finland is active in the EU, promoting nuclear power and SMRs. Existing reactors will operate long-term, and new reactors, including LWRs, are being developed. Finland is streamlining licensing and working with various stakeholders, with new legislation expected by 2027-2028. International cooperation is essential for common safety standards.


  • According to Torbjörn Wahlborg, Senior EVP, Business Area Generation, Vattenfall, electrification will be the biggest transformation in society since the industrial revolution which has created a huge demand for carbon neutral electricity. In order to meet this demand we have to either update old reactors, or the more popular option, build new ones. These are major projects but “We did it before and I’m sure we can do it again” Wahlborg proclaimed.


  • We were also honored to have the Director General of IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi to close the conference on Day 1. During his speech Mr. Grossi brought up the positive change in the opinions towards nuclear energy globally. He announced that at the moment we have a global positive consensus about nuclear energy. This is more than a positive sign because according to Grossi “Nuclear power needs to be accelerated. Not only included, not only tolerated, not only accepted but accelerated.” Grossi summed up Day 1 perfectly by claiming that this is a time of possibilities and prospects. But at the same time we have to have the lucidity to recognise the problems and headwinds we still have in the industry. “But I’m sure that the resilience, excellence, and integrity of this sector will make this time this thing a big success.”


Author Sonja Kaitosaari 
Picture by Mikael Leppäniemi