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HELSINKI - Finnish nuclear power consortium Fennovoima said it will build a nuclear reactor in Pyhajoki, northern Finland, in the first announcement of a new site since the March 11 disaster in Fukushima, Japan.

The reactor project, estimated to cost around 4-6 billion euros ($5,3-$8.0 billion), aims to provide energy to Fennovoima shareholders including stainless steel maker Outokumpu, retailer Kesko , and the local subsidiaries of Swedish metals firm Boliden .

Fennovoima's chief executive said he expects the construction of the reactor to begin in 2015.

"We will get offers from equipment makers in January. After we have gone through those and chosen the deliverer, we can apply for construction permit from the government around 2012-2013," CEO Tapio Saarenpaa told a news conference.

Finland's supreme admistrative court overruled appeals over Fennovoima's nuclear reactor project on September 21, clearing the way for it to choose a site between its last two options, Pyhajoki and Simo in Northern Finland. But environmentalists opposing the project said they would take the case to the European Union. ?

Proponents of Finland's nuclear policies say the economy cannot afford to phase out nuclear power like Germany. Finland's long, cold winters require high energy consumption and its forest and steel sectors rely on cheap and stable electricity. ?

The Finnish parliament voted in July 2010 to back two new nuclear rectors, which will be built by Fennovoima and utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), raising Finland's total number to seven. ?

The Finnish subsidiary of German utility E.ON has a 34 percent stake in Fennovoima.

($1 = 0.753 Euros)

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