Environment

Once in operation, the Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant will produce electricity for decades without emissions detrimental to climate. Before commissioning, Fennovoima's direct environmental impact is mostly related to the construction work carried out at the site.

We ensure that all work on the Hanhikivi headland is carried out in accordance with environmental legislation and the permit conditions, and that the environment and the wellbeing of the local residents are respected during construction work. Our ISO 14001 certified environmental management system is an important tool in this work. 

Management of the environmental impact at the Hanhikivi 1 construction site is based on proactive identification of environmental risks. We assess environmental risks for the Hanhikivi 1 construction site as a whole from the perspectives of environmental impact, legislation, and permit conditions. At this stage of the construction project, important environmental risks include chemical and oil leaks, the spread of turbidity in the sea caused by water construction work, and noise caused by the earthworks. We update our risk register four times a year.

All contractors working in the project area comply with a comprehensive risk assessment and risk management procedure. Furthermore, everyone working at the project site must be aware of the special characteristics of the Hanhikivi headland’s natural environment, the access limitations in the area, as well as the environmental guidelines established for the construction site. 

Project area is monitored with care 

We monitor the progress of contracted work together with RAOS Project during weekly site monitoring rounds, and we assist the contractors in better management of environmental matters. We also perform monthly targeted environmental inspections that focus on matters such as fuel storage, oil spill prevention preparedness, or dust prevention methods. The authorities also carry out regular inspections of our procedures.

Environmental impact monitoring

There are extensive protected seashore meadows, overgrowing shallow bays, and gloe lakes, which have become isolated from the sea on the Hanhikivi headland. There is a Natura 2000 conservation area approximately two kilometers from the plant area. The sea off the coast of the Hanhikivi peninsula is also significant both in terms of the fish stock and fishery. Areas of high natural value have been left outside the plant area already at the construction planning phase.

We monitor the state of the environment together with RAOS Project in accordance with a jointly agreed environmental monitoring program. In addition to the environmental monitoring required by the permit conditions, we also carry out voluntary monitoring of the environmental impact. This allows us to ensure that we have comprehensive knowledge of the state of the environment in the Hanhikivi headland.

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING 2021

Object Results in 2021 Monitoring method
Air quality No increased volume of dust outside the project area. We monitor the quality of the air, especially in close proximity to nature conservation areas. Six monitoring points; we added one monitoring point due to rock blasting.
Noise Noise limit was exceeded once. Seven measuring points, the closest one to residential areas is appr. 1 km from the closest home.
Seawater quality No changes in water samples caused by construction activities. In 2021, less water construction work took place than in previous years. Thus, the environmental impact on the sea area has also been lower. Monitored five times per year with water samples taken from ten measuring points
Turbidity Increased turbidity caused by heavy rainfall and storms were detected again during monitoring activities. The values exceeded 24 times the limit where work must be interrupted, but no construction work was in progress at the time. Breakwaters, a silt curtain and a protective embankment built in the sea area limit the spread of turbidity from the construction area. Monitored by means of continuous measurements. There are five measuring points around the Hanhikivi peninsula and one in the marine spoil area.
Fish stock In both the monitoring area and reference area, the pearch and roach catches increased from previous years at the expense of other fish species. The assessment of the impact of water construction on fishery will be completed in spring 2022. Fishery monitoring study: monitoring of commercial fishery and exploratory nearshore fishing using nets.
Oil and chemical leaks Two oil spills that were considered significant took place in the project area. The term "significant spill" refers to an incident that would have caused damage to the environment had the correct preventive actions not been performed. 1) 60 litres of fuel leaked into the soil from work machine in the storage area. 2) More than 100 litres of diesel fuel leaked into a rocky area from damaged fuel tank of a vehicle. Both incidents were managed and no damage to the environment has been observed. Subcontractors report the incidents to Fennovoima or RAOS Project in accordance with the construction site responsibilities.

PROTECTED SPECIES AND NATURE CONSERVATION AREAS

Object Results in 2021 Monitoring method
Natura 2000 conservation areas There are no signs that the construction activities would have caused any harm to the Natura areas located in the vicinity of the project area. A complementary assessment on the environmental impact during the construction and operation of the power plant  
Seashore meadows The condition of the Siberian primrose was studied in the seashore meadows. It was observed that there were fewer plants at certain locations but more in others, and that the Siberian primrose had naturally spread to new areas. Follow-up study
Green filed study: an update to the assessment on the current condition of the natural areas and on the occurence of habitat types of the Hanhikivi 1 peninsula There have been no essential changes in the condition of the habitat types outside the construction areas, with the exception of individual sites located within the fenced plant area where trees have been felled. The study also included mapping of the occurences of the yellow iris. The yellow iris was deemed to spread in the area. The results of the habitat types are consistent with the study conducted in 2009. Follow-up study
Gloe lakes Changes to the water level of a gloe lake in the area due to construction work were observed on three occasions. The water level returned to normal. Annual follow-up

Construction waste is utilized as energy or material 

Efficient sorting and recycling, as well as appropriate processing, are important in the management of the environmental impact of the waste generated on site. Our primary goal at the Hanhikivi 1 project area is to mitigate the waste load generated by construction work as efficiently as possible. The requirements and measures related to it are included the plant supply contract, and apply to all contractors operating at the project area. For example, the appropriate storage of construction materials and the reuse of casting molds reduce the waste load.

However, construction inevitably generates some waste. The recycling and reuse of materials saves natural resources and reduces the waste load. For example, the crushed rock and soil from excavation, dredging, and blasting are utilized either at the Hanhikivi 1 project area or other work areas. However, the remote location of the project area and long transportation distances complicate material recycling. The reuse of waste material in the region is still minimal. Recycled fuel made from energy waste is utilized as fuel in industrial and power plants. We strive to reduce the amount of energy fractions to be incinerated, but for the time being, the opportunities to recycle wood waste generated in construction are minimal in Finland.

Contractors must sort the waste in their own work areas before transporting it to the project area’s sorting stations. The contractors must also manage the processing and storage of hazardous waste in accordance with the applicable regulations. We provide guidance to the contractors during weekly site monitoring rounds and inspections. As a rule, contractors have been diligent in the processing and sorting of waste. 

Waste generated at the Hanhikivi 1 project site in 2021

In total 939 metric tons of waste, including 896 of conventional waste and 43 metric tons of hazardous waste, was generated on the Hanhikivi 1 project site in 2021. Our goals are to utilize 70 per cent of our construction waste as materials and to utilize a total of 90 per cent of our construction waste either as materials or in energy production. We reached the overall goal (the total annual utilization rate was 93 per cent), but the material utilization rate for the entire year remained at 53 per cent. You can find the waste data from here (pdf): 

Waste generated on the Hanhikivi 1 project site in 2021 by disposal method
Waste generated on the Hanhikivi 1 project site in 2021 by disposal method.

Latest update on March 16, 2022.