Finland may get its fifth nuclear powerplant following the national parliament's late May vote to approve in principle plans for a new unit. The privately-owned, Helsinki-based utility Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO) will now prepare bidding documents for various types of pressurized-water and boiling-water reactors before seeking construction permits for the $1.5- to 2.3-billion plant.

Getting international bid documents ready will take "months rather than years," says TVO spokesman Ahti Toivola. He says the company will likely invite bids for U.S., Swedish and French BWR technology. It has also narrowed down its preferred PWR options to U.S., French and Russian systems.

Environmental opponents see the107 to 92 parliamentary vote in favor of the nuclear project as a set back. But the Valtavirta alliance of over 42 critical groups will continue efforts to derail TVO's plan. "We will focus on the companies behind this application, especially the pulp and paper industry," says Mikail Sjvšvall, a spokesman for Greenpeace Finland, Helsinki.

Through the bidding process, TVO says it will decide both the size and location of its proposed 1,000- to 1,600-Mw plant. It may choose its own west coast Olkiluoto nuclear plant at Eurajoki, where it has two 840-Mw Swedish-built BWRs. Commissioned in 1978 and 1980, the plants provide one-fifth of Finnish electricity generating capacity, according to TVO.

An alternative location would be the site of two PWRs at the Hästholmen plant in Loviisa, on the east coast. That plant is owned by Fortum-based Fortum Power and Heat Oy, one of the six corporate owners of TVO. TVO generates and sells power at cost price directly to its owners only.